Heavy rain, floods kill at least 95 in Rwanda

Motorcyclists take shelter from rain under a filling station canopy in Kigali, Rwanda on March 15, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

NAIROBI – Heavy rain that triggered flooding and landslides in western Rwanda has killed at least 95 people, a senior government official said on Wednesday, as authorities search for others trapped in their homes.

Muddy water flowed swiftly down an inundated road and destroyed houses in a video clip posted on Twitter by the state-run Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.

"Our main priority now is to reach every house that has been damaged to ensure we can rescue any person who may be trapped," François Habitegeko, governor of Rwanda's Western Province, told Reuters, adding that the death toll stood at 95.

Some people had been rescued and taken to hospital, he said, but did not say how many.

The hardest-hit districts in his province were Rutsiro, with 26 dead, Nyabihu with 19, and 18 each in Rubavu and Ngororero, he added.

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Habitegeko said the rain started at about 6 pm (1600 GMT) on Tuesday and the River Sebeya had burst its banks.

"The soil was already soaked from the previous days of rain, which caused landslides that closed roads," he said.

The Rwanda Meteorology Agency has forecast rainfall above the average in May for the East African nation.

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