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Rwanda: Dozens killed as heavy rains trigger floods, landslides

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Worst downpours in months damage roads, houses and bridges and sweep away farms, Rwandan government says.14 hours ago

At least 65 people have died in Rwanda after heavy rains damaged houses and washed away bridges, according to officials.

The country has, in recent weeks, been hit by torrential downpours that have led to floods and landslides that crushed homes built on mountain slopes, with similar scenes playing out across East Africa.

In a statement on Thursday, Rwanda’s Ministry of Emergency Management said major rains the night before were the worst in months and caused “a number of disasters” in seven districts: Gakenke, Nyabihu, Muhanga, Musanze, Ngororero, Rulindo and Rubavu.

“Up until midnight, 65 death cases had been registered due to floods. The rains also led to damage of infrastructure like roads, 91 houses, 5 bridges and several farms were swept away by the floods,” said the statement.

The toll follows the deaths of eight people in heavy rains on Friday and Saturday, the ministry added.

Countries across East Africa have experienced major downpours in recent weeks, with devastating effects for the local populations.

In neighbouring Kenya, floods and landslides have killed nearly 200 people in the past month, while Uganda’s Lake Victoria has overflown, submerging houses, a hospital and bridges and displacing thousands.

Four teenagers drowned in Kenya on Thursday after a river burst its banks, a day after the government announced 194 people had been killed due to floods and landslides since the rainy season began in April, and large areas of farmland and water infrastructure destroyed.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday wrote on Twitter that Lake Victoria was near record levels.

A stopover at Kitubulu, Katabi Town Council on Entebbe Road. The water levels for Lake Victoria now stand at 13.4metres, one point less than the highest we have ever obtained (13.41metres in May 1964). Encroachers on Lake Victoria land should vacate before they are ‘swallowed’.

The Red Cross issued a statement on Thursday saying thousands were displaced in Uganda after two rivers burst their banks, and a major hospital in western Kasese had partly been submerged by water.

Somalia has also experienced flooding in several areas, with six people killed in northeast Puntland last month.

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