In a tragic turn of events, over 100 people have been confirmed dead following a night of torrential downpours that led to catastrophic flooding and landslides in several districts of Western and Northern provinces. The death toll, which is alarmingly high, marks the most significant disaster-related loss of life in the country within a brief period, based on available records from recent years.
The affected districts include Ngororero, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Rutsiro, and Karongi. A report by the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) reveals that between January and April 20, 2023, more than 60 individuals lost their lives to natural disasters. This tragic incident significantly surpasses that number, highlighting the urgent need for effective disaster management strategies.
In response to this disaster, President Paul Kagame has offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the landslides and floods in the Western, Northern, and Southern Provinces. The President’s office is working diligently to implement interventions aimed at saving endangered citizens. Among these efforts are the evacuation and temporary relocation of residents from the affected and high-risk areas for the duration of the heavy rainfall.
To provide immediate assistance to those affected, teams have been deployed to the impacted districts. A newly established command center is actively coordinating emergency response efforts to ensure efficient aid and support during this crisis.
Unfortunately, the floods have also had a significant impact on the country’s water infrastructure. Four water treatment plants across the nation have suspended operations due to river flooding that has contaminated the water sources they rely on. This development further exacerbates the already dire situation faced by the communities affected by floods and landslides.
Over the past five years, the northern province alone has experienced a staggering 1,500 disaster cases, predominantly floods, and landslides, as reported by The New Times. These disasters have resulted in over 200 fatalities and caused damage to more than 5,000 homes. The latest catastrophe serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive disaster preparedness and management strategies to protect the lives and well-being of the country’s citizens.