Rwanda: Landslides Displace Scores in Musanze

Residents try to regain iron sheets from a destroyed house in Muko Sector. Dozens of houses were destroyed through landslides in the district.
5 December 2019

Landslides have swept away at least 16 households in three sectors in Musanze District, rendering scores of residents homeless.

The landslides hit Muko, Kimonyi and Nkotsi sectors on Wednesday night, burying the homes in the process.

There were no deaths or casualties, officials said, adding that residents were fast to vacate their homes as the catastrophe unfolded.

According to locals, the landslides were caused by heavy rain, which started pounding the area Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

Residents who spoke to The New Times said the heavy rain also triggered floods that destroyed more houses and acres of plantations.

"Our houses were completely wiped out and as we speak we do not have where to stay, the future looks uncertain," Innocent Tuyambaze, one of the victims from Muko Sector, said earlier Thursday.

He said that he lost a house worth Rwf8 million, which he had just completed, as well as a garden of beans. "I was left with nothing other than the clothes I am wearing."

The victims appealed for government's intervention.

Andrew Rucyahana Mpuwe, the district vice mayor for Economic Development, said the damage could be bigger than it appears.

"As we speak a team of technicians from the district has arrived to help with inspection of the ruins and establish the extent of the damage," he said.

He warned that this might take a while as roads in some of the affected areas were impassable as a result of the landslides and heavy rain.

Rucyahana noted that the district and its partners were in the process of giving humanitarian assistance to the victims, including temporary shelter, before devising a long-term solution.

The landslides struck just a day after the Rwanda Meteorology Agency issued a fresh warning about heavy rain and possible landslides and floods across most provinces.

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