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Heavy rains in Rwanda leave three dead

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At least three more people lost their lives after extensive flooding triggered by heavy rains hit several parts of Rwanda’s western, northern regions and Kigali, according to officials on Tuesday, 3 March 2020.

According to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, torrential rains late on Monday also caused landslides, destroying fourty-two houses, damaging water facilities and leaving hundreds of people stranded especially in Rutsiro and Ngororero districts in the west of the country.

The incessant rainfall in southern Rwanda for the last two days also damaged water pipes and killed five livestock, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs, Olivier Kayumba told reporters in Kigali.

Several houses and hectares of agricultural land were washed away as rains hit more than a dozen villages in Gicumbi and Gakenke, two mountainous districts in northern Rwanda, according to the same source.

The meteorological agency said that heavy rainfall was expected in most parts of Rwanda on Tuesday.

In most parts of the East African region, including Rwanda, experts say heavy rains are mainly caused by a condition in the atmosphere called “low pressure” in the Indian Ocean that is pulling drivers of heavy rains eastward.

These drivers of rains are called “The  Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ” and they are in every country in the region, it said.

The latest figures from the Ministry of  Emergency Management (MINEMA) show that seventy people died countrywide between January and September 2019, due to disasters in Rwanda.

Estimates also show that one-hundred and seventy-seven people were injured during the same period, 4,095  houses were damaged, 6,708 hectares of crops destroyed, and 167 livestock killed.

In addition, reports indicate that disasters – mainly floods, landslides, and lightning strikes – killed two-hundred and thirty-four people and injured two-hundred and sixty-eight others.

In 2018, Rwanda lost Rwf 204  billion ($224 million) due to disasters, while the value of damages for the year 2017 was estimated at a whopping Rwf 6.7 billion ($ 73  million).

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