Rwanda: Heavy Downpour Freezes Movement in Kigali As Floods Ravage City Suburbs

29 January 2020

Heavy rains that pounded for hours yesterday were felt in a number of the parts of Kigali city, one of the affected areas being Gisozi-Gakiriro area where the waters flooded the road connecting to the Nyarutarama-Kagugu road causing a hitch in transport for pedestrians and motorists and bikes.

Rwanda Meteorological Agency (RMA) had earlier on predicted heavy rains and strong winds in Rwanda's West, South and East during the period of transiting from January to February.

Yesterday, in many parts of Kigali, it continuously rained from about lunch time till dark, while in other parts it had started raining at dawn.

Even long after it had subsided however, the flooding persisted in different parts of the city, causing paralysis.

In Gisozi, one of the most affected areas, the rain waters flooded the road that links to the Nyarutarama-Kagugu road, derailing transport for a number of people, damaged crops, but also created a spectacle a number of residents of the area who stood by to gaze at the distress created by the rains.

A hard time for pedestrians, a heyday for motorists and bicycle riders

Many road users, mostly returning from work and school hustled to wade through the water, and some had to take off their shoes and pull their clothes higher to cross to the other side.

On the other hand, there were many motorists and bicycle riders who had chance to make a quick buck from those who could not cross by themselves, helping them cross for pay.

An eye witness told The New Times that people had to pay Rwf100 to bicycle riders to take them across for a ride of almost 10 metres.

Other well-wishers however, chose to just lend a hand freely to the vulnerable, who wanted to cross.

"I am here to freely help women and school children who want to cross and go home. I don't do it for money. When I see someone in need of help to cross, I offer them some help," said Joseph Sinayobye, a resident of Gisozi.

By the time we spoke to him, he said he had helped about five people to cross - women and school children.

Likewise, a number of personal cars were seen offering to carry some people across,

"Some cars have been offering lifts to people just to take them across to the other side," said the eye witness.

In its Monday weather alert, the weatherman predicted heavy rains between 25 and 50 millimeters from the evening of 27th to 28th January and 31st January to 1st February, especially in the districts that border Nyungwe Forest in the Western and Southern provinces.

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