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Rwanda floods kill 130, destroy over 5,000 houses

May 4, 2023 _ KIGALI (Reuters) – Flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains that have killed 130 people in Rwanda this week have also destroyed more than 5,000 homes, a government spokesperson said on Thursday.

The rains that started on Tuesday evening caused floods and landslides in the country’s Western and Northern provinces. The death toll stood at 129 on Wednesday.

“So far, we have recorded 130 deaths. Additionally, there are 77 injuries, with 36 of those individuals currently in the hospital. We also have five people missing,” Alain Mukuralinda, deputy government spokesperson, said.

He added the floods had also completely destroyed over 5,100 houses and affected an additional 2,500. All the people who were living in those homes, he said, now needed to be relocated.

During a visit to the affected areas in western Rwanda on Thursday, Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente said search efforts were still underway as there were some bodies still buried in the mud which meant the death toll could still rise.

“These disasters were caused by floods and erosion, which resulted in houses collapsing on people,” he said.

Mukuralinda said the landslides and flooding had destroyed 17 roads and 26 bridges, one hospital , two health posts and five health centres.

He said the government had sent relief assistance, comprising food, hygienic kits, bedding, kitchen utensils and these were being transported to Ngororero, Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyabihu – the most affected districts in Western province.

Rwanda has been experiencing heavy and sustained rains since late March.

(Reporting by Philbert Girinema, Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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