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Mudslides in Rwanda Kill at Least 130


People stand next to a building that collapsed in torrential rains, in western Rwanda, May 3, 2023.
People stand next to a building that collapsed in torrential rains, in western Rwanda, May 3, 2023.

Officials in Rwanda say the search for victims continued Thursday after torrential rains this week caused mudslides and severe flooding in the north, western and southern provinces, killing at least 130 people and destroying thousands of homes.

Government officials surveying affected areas said they expect the death toll to rise as several victims are likely buried in mud and debris.

Deputy government spokesman Alain Mukuralinda told reporters that at least 77 people have been injured, 36 of whom were still hospitalized early Thursday.

Mukuralinda said the government did not know the number of people left homeless by the floods and mudslides because the count is still in progress, but he confirmed that more than 5,000 houses were destroyed, and families now need to be relocated.

Residents salvage their household items after their homes were swamped following rains that triggered flooding and landslides in Rubavu district, Western province, Rwanda, May 3, 2023.
Residents salvage their household items after their homes were swamped following rains that triggered flooding and landslides in Rubavu district, Western province, Rwanda, May 3, 2023.

Officials said many roads and bridges, particularly in the western provinces, were destroyed by mudslides. The Reuters news agency, quoting Mukuralinda, reported that one hospital, two health posts and five health centers were destroyed.

In neighboring Uganda, the local Red Cross reports that at least six people died Wednesday in a mountainous area of the southwestern Kisoro district after their homes were buried in a mudslide triggered by the rains. A local official told The Associated Press he blamed poor farming and soil management practices, along with climate change, for the disaster.

Rwanda and Uganda have been experiencing heavy and sustained rains since late March. The Rwanda Meteorology Agency has forecast more rainfall for the region in the coming days.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse.

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