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27 Dec 2019 | 07:02 AM UTC

Rwanda: Flooding kills 12 across the country December 25 /update 1

Flooding in Rwanda killed at least 12 people across the country on December 25; additional heavy rain and associated flooding to be expected in the near term

environment
transportation
RWA

Event

According to local officials, at least 12 people were killed by flooding due to heavy rains which affected the country on Wednesday, December 25. In the capital Kigali, most roads in lowlands area have reportedly been affected, leaving it impassable. The Rwanda Meteorology Agency has warned that more rain is expected throughout Saturday, December 28, while weather conditions should begin to improve on Sunday, December 29. Local authorities have advised citizens living in wetlands and other high risk zones to relocate.

Further associated flooding and damages are possible, as well as associated transportation disruptions in affected areas, as more rain is forecast in the coming days and weeks.

Context

Torrential downpours are a frequent occurrence during Rwanda's rainy season and often lead to significant flooding and traffic disruption. Inadequate construction standards leave occupants at risk from collapsing buildings. From January to December this year, Rwanda lost 117 citizens to disasters including lightening, floods, mine disasters and collapsing structures, among others.

Advice

Individuals in affected areas are advised to monitor the situation, avoid areas directly hit by flooding, and adhere to any orders issued by the local authorities or their home governments. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded. Be aware that the risk of contracting water- and mosquito-borne diseases tends to rise after periods of heavy rainfall.