At least 26 people have been killed by landslides triggered by heavy rains in northwestern Burundi, according to the government.
In a Twitter post on Thursday, the security ministry said seven people were also injured while 10 others were still missing following the landslides that struck Cibitoke province.
The ministry identified the areas affected as Nyempundu, Gikomero and Rukombe, near the border with Rwanda.
Homes and fields in the area had also been damaged and search-and-rescue operations were ongoing, it said.
Éboulement de terrains suite aux fortes pluies tombées hier à Nyempundu, Gikomero et Rukombe (zone Nyamakarabo, commune Mugina en @CibitokeProv) : 26 morts, 07 blessés et 10 personnes non encore retrouvées. Des maisons, champs et biens aussi endommagés. Fouilles en cours.
— BurundiMIDCSP (@BurundiMIDCSP) December 5, 2019
TRANSLATION: Landslide following heavy rains yesterday in Nyempundu, Gikomero and Rukombe (Nyamakarabo zone, Mugina commune in @CibitokeProv): 26 dead, 07 injured and 10 people not yet found. Houses, fields and property also damaged. Excavations in progress.
“They are still digging up dead bodies,” a local government official told Reuters news agency by telephone.
Separately, AFP news agency gave a death toll of at least 38 people, citing a provisional police tally: three in Gikomero, 13 in Rukombe and 22 died in Nyempundu.
“It happened in the night, when everyone was at home, and landslides hit three very steep hills and buried everything in their path,” a witness told AFP.
“Whole families were buried alive in their homes or in the fields. It was terrifying.”
Global warming, combined with a cyclical weather phenomenon, has caused the Indian Ocean to become warmer than usual, bringing heavy rains to East Africa.