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Landslides Follow Heavy Rains in Rwanda, Kill Dozens

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Landslides Follow Heavy Rains in Rwanda, Kill Dozens

Post by Harry on Wed May 18, 2016 7:12 pm


Landslides Follow Heavy Rains in Rwanda, Kill Dozens

Published:

May 10 2016 12:00 AM EDT

By Eric Chaney

weather.com

A coffin is lowered during a burial service in the Gakenke District in on May 9, 2016. At least 49 people were killed this weekend in landslides caused by torrential rains in rural Rwanda, the government said today. The worst affected district was Gakenke in the north, where 34 people were killed, with another 15 dead and 26 injured in western parts of the country. (CYRIL NDEGEYA/AFP/Getty Images)

More than four dozen people have been killed by landslides in northern Rwanda after heavy rains fell over the weekend.

Torrential rains in an area about 50 miles from the capital, Kigali, have also destroyed several homes, stranding many families, Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Minister Seraphine Mukantabana told The Associated Press on Monday.

Rwanda's Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi throws dirt on the coffins of landslide victims during a burial service in the Gakenke District in on May 9, 2016. At least 49 people were killed this weekend in landslides caused by torrential rains in rural Rwanda, the government said today. The worst affected district was Gakenke in the north, where 34 people were killed, with another 15 dead and 26 injured in western parts of the country. (CYRIL NDEGEYA/AFP/Getty Images)
“We woke all the children up, rushed them outside,” Jean Bosco Kamali, a trader who lives in Gakenke town, told KT Press today Monday evening. “Rain poured on us, and in a few minutes, an already fragile house was almost immersed before collapsing with our few belongings.”

Mukantabana said most of the victims lived in the Gakenke district northern Rwanda, where 34 deaths have been recorded, more than 500 homes completely destroyed, and scores have been hospitalized. Northern Rwanda is particularly hilly, making it vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season.
“One of Rwanda's rainy seasons winds down by April or May, followed by a dry season lasting through August, before another wet period peaking in October and November,” said weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman. "This correlates with the northward, then southward belt of rising air and thunderstorms near the equator called the Intertropical Convergence Zone."

Other deaths were reported in Muhanga and Rubavu districts, Mukantabana said. Over the weekend, the Ngororero-Muhanga and Kigali-Musanze roads were both cut off by landslides, the East African reports, and residents of Gakenke district say emergency support has taken a long time to reach them.

(MORE: Devastating Drought Forces Zimbabwe to Put Its Wild Animals Up for Sale)

The Kigali-Muhanga road, one of the country's busiest highways, which connects southern and western parts of Rwanda to the capital, was closed after River Nyabarongo burst its banks, the East African said.

"We don't have basic needs like clothing and blankets,” Juvenal Hategeka, one of the residents who lost property, told the East African. “At the moment, we are relying on hand-outs from other residents whose houses were not affected.”

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Ecuador Earthquake - April 2016

A destroyed truck sits among the rubble after an earthquake in Portoviejo, Ecuador, Monday, April 18, 2016. A Saturday night quake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador’s Pacific Ocean coast. Hundreds have died, thousands are homeless and without electricity. (AP Photo/Emilio D. Garcia)


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