April 24, 2018 / 5:32 PM / 4 months ago

Heavy rains, landslides kill 18 in Rwanda: government

KIGALI (Reuters) - Eighteen people died overnight on Monday when heavy rains ripped through several parts of Rwanda, causing landslides, the government said.

The East African nation, dubbed a country of a thousand hills, has recently been affected by landslides as a result of heavy downpours flattening houses on mountain slopes.

“Eighteen people passed on due to disasters caused by heavy rains in the night of 23rd April,” Rwanda’s ministry in charge of disaster management said on Twitter.

Seven people died in Rwanda’s north, eight in the capital Kigali and three in Gatsibo in the east, with 79 houses and 56 hectares of crops destroyed, it said. The ministry was still assessing the extent of damage from the heavy rain.

The government has in the past urged Rwandans who live on mountain slopes to move to areas less prone to disasters.

Monday’s toll follows the deaths of 51 people in heavy rains and lightning between January and mid-April, the ministry said. That toll included 16 people who died when lightning struck a church in March.

Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Writing by George Obulutsa, Editing by William Maclean

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