Heavy rains kill 12 in Rwanda on Christmas night

Monday, December 30th, 2019 12:35 |
People cross a swollen river after heavy rains in Kigali, Rwanda, Dec. 26, 2019. (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya)

Heavy rains that hit Rwanda on Wednesday night killed at least 12 people, a senior government official said here on Thursday. 

"It's unfortunate that we confirm that 12 people have died due to heavy rains that hit different parts of our country on Christmas night," said Rwanda's Minister of Local Government Anastase Shyaka at a press conference about the aftermath of Wednesday's downpour. 

The heavy rains also destroyed 113 houses, 49 hectares of agricultural fields and several infrastructures such as roads and water treatment plants, said Shyaka. 

He called upon Rwandan citizens residing in high risk zones and wetlands to vacate from those areas to avoid flooding and landslides disasters caused by heavy rains. 

He also said the death toll could have been more if people residing in wetlands in Kigali had not been evacuated by the government recently. 

For the past three weeks in December, about 6,000 Rwandan households residing in high risk zones and wetlands in different parts of Rwanda were evacuated and relocated to safe areas, he added. 

Floods and landslides caused by heavy rains this year have affected 22 national roads, and 42 district roads and bridges, Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete said last week. 

Official data showed extreme weathers have caused more than 250 deaths in the African country last year, and this year have left more than 100 people dead, some 5,000 houses damaged and more than 9,000 hectares of plantations destroyed. 

In eastern Africa, at least 280 people have been killed and more than 2.8 million others affected by unusually heavy rainfall and flooding by early December this year, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (Xinhua)

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