The evening of May 6 was normal and peaceful. Francois Nzabamwita, a resident of Bucyurabuhoro Village, Rwankuba Sector in Karongi District (Western Rwanda) left home to watch a football game at a bar in the neighbouring village. A heavy downpour followed till the end of the game.
On realizing the rain wouldn’t stop, Nzabamwita decided to brave it. But a few meters to his home, a huge force swept him away – along with his house and everything in its path. A large section of the steep mountain had given way.
Nzabamwita survived the ordeal but the horror is still fresh on his mind.
“Fortunately, I managed to rescue a woman with a baby,” he said as hundreds of mourners gathered to bury the dead.
For the entire night, locals struggled to find survivors. Nzabamwita says he witnessed an elderly man being pulled out of tons of mixture of mad, rocks and wood.
The landslide killed 18 people in Rwankuba, including 7 in Nzabamwita’s village. Dozens are still recovering from injuries in Kibuye Hospital.
On Tuesday, government officials led by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee affairs Jeanne d’Arc de Bonheur, the Western Province Governor, Alphonse Munyantwali and local authorities joined Rwankuba sector residents to comfort the survivors and bury 15 victims. Three others were buried a day before.
Prime Minister Ngirente urged residents of Rwankuba to offer shelter to affected families and pledged government support.
“We will support families whose houses were completely destroyed to find shelter near their land so that they can continue their activities. We shall also relocate those living in high-risk zones,” Ngirente said.
Survivors were provided with basic materials including bed covers and sanitary items.
36 families are currently hosted by neighbors since their houses have been completely washed away by landslides.
Meanwhile, Midimar is still making a survey of damages.
From January to date, at least 200 people have died while 215 others were injured by rain related disasters across the country.
Disasters also destroyed more than 4,500 hectares of crops and 9974 houses.
Recently, in Ngororero district – Western Rwanda, a huge rock fell on the highway linking central Rwanda to Western Rwanda. Tons of mud are still being cleared from the road.
In Northern Rwanda, entire villages are flooded. A boarding school has had to find alternative shelter for some of its students.