(Rubavu) Search for victims, houses destroyed by the thousands, roads cut: Rwanda continued on Thursday to assess the damage caused by floods which have so far claimed 130 lives, one of the worst disasters it has known these days. last years.

Torrential rains in Rwanda overnight Tuesday and Wednesday caused devastating floods and landslides in northern, western and southern provinces.

“The death toll is now 130,” Rwandan government deputy spokesman Alain Mukuralinda told AFP, adding that five missing people were still wanted.

In addition, 77 people were injured, 36 of whom were still hospitalized Thursday morning.

“We don’t know the total number of homeless people at the moment, the count is in progress. What we do know is that more than 5100 houses were destroyed and they all housed families,” said Alain Mukuralinda.

In Karongi district, western province, more than 370 families — more than 1,440 people — have been relocated to temporary shelters after their homes were destroyed, according to the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA). , which oversees public radio and television.

Among the victims, Anonciata mourns one of her sons. “I found my child buried under stones and bricks that fell on him during the heavy rains. He died in the hospital,” she told AFP: “Another of my children was also seriously injured in the head. I pray that he survives.”

Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente has begun a visit to the disaster areas. He is particularly expected in the Rubavu district, one of the hardest hit.

In this town in the west of the country, the flooding of the Sebaya River, which flows into Lake Kivu a few kilometers downstream, has caused significant damage.

Resident Jacqueline Mukamana rushed out of her home at midnight when neighbors alerted her that the river was bursting its banks. “Our house, and everything (the rest), was destroyed,” she told AFP.

Another resident, Paul Bizimana, was relieved to have managed to get his family out: “ I managed to save my children and my family members […] At least they are safe ”.

Rwandan police have warned that three major roads in Western Province are “temporarily impassable”.

The government announced that it would provide compensation to the families of victims of 100,000 Rwandan francs (80 euros) per relative who died in the disaster.

East Africa regularly experiences floods and landslides during the rainy seasons, the heaviest of which occurs from March to May. Their intensity and frequency are expected to increase with climate change, say meteorological experts.

In Uganda, six people were killed on Wednesday in a landslide in the Kisoro region, in the southwest, not far from the Rwandan border, according to the local Red Cross.

In Ethiopia last month, at least 14 people died from floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in the south, while hundreds of cattle died and dozens of houses were damaged.

In 2018, at least 215 people were killed in Rwanda in the first four months of the year by floods and landslides caused by heavy rainfall, according to government figures.

By the end of 2019, two months of unrelenting rains that led to flooding and mudslides had killed at least 265 people and displaced hundreds of thousands across the region, including in Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan. South.