Authorities in Rubavu District in Western Province have issued a ban on any activity conducted in Lake Kivu, following 16 dead bodies from a ferry that capsized in Democratic Republic of Congo’s part of Lake Kivu.
Last week, a ferry capsized in Democratic Republic of Congo’s part of Lake Kivu – killing more than 100 people.
Dead bodies have since been held beneath water bodies and were recently discovered on the Rwandan side of the Lake.
However, authorities on the Rwandan side started retrieving moving bodies and issued a ban on the activities conducted on the Lake such as fishing and swimming.
On April 15, a ferry was transporting Congolese people from Kalehe region in South Kivu Province bordering Rwanda. On its way to Goma’s Kiwanja region, the ferry capsized killing 102 people out of 143 people on board, according to Vital Muhini – a member of Parliament representing Kalehe region.
On April 19, Rwanda handed over 15 dead bodies to DRC after they were retrieved in Rutsiro district. Five days later on April 24, another dead body was retrieved in Lake Kivu’s side in Rubavu District.
Fears of possible Ebola outbreak through contaminated water was behind the closure of all activities in the Lake, according to authorities in Rubavu District.
“We feared people conducting fishing and swimming activities could drink contaminated water from these dead bodies. We also considered a deadly Ebola outbreak that has hit DRC,” Gilbert Habyarimana – Rubavu District mayor told Kigali Today.
According to the Mayor, authorities are obliged to close the Lake for a period of two weeks whenever an accident occurs and kills people.
For several years now, Rwanda has been threatened by impending Ebola outbreak from neighboring countries including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.
In response to the outbreak, the country established strong safety measures including simulation exercises across several prone districts of the country.
Meanwhile, Lake Kivu is one of Western Province’s cash cow through several activities in the Lake.
It also attracts tourists who visit other beautiful sceneries the Province accommodates.