Rwanda: Death toll from floods expected to rise
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis’ telegram of sorrow and condolences to the Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda, Archbishop Arnaldo Catalan on Thursday evening highlights the largely neglected tragedy in yet another African nation impacted by climate change.
The Pope offered his spiritual closeness to all those suffering in the wake of the disaster that has claimed scores of lives and wreaked damage and destruction in the East African country.
The heavy rains that started on Tuesday evening caused floods and landslides in Rwanda’s Western and Northern provinces where people are still missing and thousands have been displaced.
African nations affected by floods
The flooding comes in the wake of powerful cyclones that hit Malawi and Mozambique in March killing almost one and a half thousand people and displacing over 500,000.
During a visit to the affected areas, Rwandan Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente said search efforts were still underway as there were some bodies still buried in the mud which means the death toll could still rise.
"These disasters – he said - were caused by floods and erosion, which resulted in houses collapsing on people," the Prime Minister said, adding that many roads and bridges, a hospital and a number of health care centres have also been destroyed.
The government has sent relief assistance, comprising food, hygienic kits, bedding and kitchen utensils to the most affected districts, but life is further compromised for many poor people affected by heavy and sustained rains since late March.
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