May 7, 2020

At least 25 Dead in Night of Heavy Rain Pounding Northern Rwanda

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Heavy rain pounding northern Rwanda since Wednesday has left trail of destruction not seen recently as landslides and floods ravage region.

In the districts of Gakenke, Rulindo, Musanze, and western province districts of Nyabihu and Rubavu, have all received unprecedented rainfall in the past 48 hours.

The downpours have been ongoing since late last year, but in past two weeks have been more intense and sustained. It is also raining in nearly all parts of Rwanda, including the usually hot regions of the east and south.

In Gakenke and Rulindo, for the past 24 hours, initial reports by local officials suggest more than 26 people have been killed. Many more injured as the small streams suddenly became huge rivers flowing uncontrolled through valleys of the mountainous region.

As the downpour washed downhill, hillsides are giving way, causing landslides. In one sector alone of Gakenke district, overflowing muddy rivers killed 4 people, and many others were buried by landslides.

In Rubavu district, the Nyundo school of music, a center producing some of the finest local music icons, is flooded. The entire facility is under water. By the time the flooding recedes, there will be plenty of damage to repair.

For Musanze district, particularly Busogo district, since last week, 126 people are staying in a local school after they were relocated in emergency effort by local officials. Their villages and farmland is flooded.

The emergency affairs ministry was by Thursday midmorning still struggling to assess the damage. Some indications are that some 55 in total have been killed in different parts.

With the country in partial lockdown due to COVID-19, with no one allowed to move from our district to another, in the coming days, destruction caused by the heavy rains will slowly come to light.

The meteorological department announced early this year that the unusually heavy rain will continue well past June.

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