Deadly Rwanda floods leave thousands homeless

Nearly 50 people dead after torrential downpours cause landslides in north of country.

    Landslides blocked roads across northern Rwanda, cutting off thousands of people [Ukwezi.com]
    Landslides blocked roads across northern Rwanda, cutting off thousands of people [Ukwezi.com]

    At least 49 people have been killed after heavy rain caused widespread flooding across parts of Rwanda.

    The small central African country was hit by torrential downpours over the weekend.

    The Northern Province was worst affected and suffered the highest death toll.

    Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Minister Seraphine Mukantabana said 42 of the victims came from Gakenke district. The rest belonged to Ngororero and Rubavu districts in the west, as well as Muhanga in the south.

    There were also dozens of injuries, with at least 26 people requiring hospital treatment.

    The heavy downpours caused landslides that blocked roads across the north of the country, cutting off thousands of people.

    Buildings have been damaged and nearly 500 homes have been destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless.

    Being in the tropics, Rwanda receives plentiful amounts of rainfall. The yearly average is around 1,179mm. May is the second wettest month with an average of 164mm of rain

    Rwanda is a green and mountainous country and even has the nickname "land of a thousand hills". However, the copious amounts of rainfall over that high ground does make it prone to landslides.

    In April 2015, the Rwanda Red Cross announced that floods and landslides affected 3,425 people.

    The rains should ease over the next few weeks as the sun continues its passage north and the dry season sets in between June and September.

    It would seem likely that the exceptionally heavy rain over these last two rainy seasons is due to the now waning presence of El Nino, Al Jazeera meteorologist Everton Fox said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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