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Gakenke District: Landslide Victims were let to “go back down”

Government officials, locals and other well wishers yesterday joined hands and lay to rest the 35 people who died in the landslides caused by heavy rains that happened over the weekend in Gakenke District the Northern Province of the country.

Prime Minister Murekezi lays a wreath of flowers to honor 35 victims of a landslide and floods in Gakenke District yesterday.

Victims include children, men and women. The ceremony that took place at the district headquarters brought together thousands of residents. The disaster occurred Sunday morning around 4am.

The event was graced by the Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi, Minister for Local government, Francis Kaboneka, Disaster preparedness and Refugee affairs Minister, Seraphine Mukantabana, Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana and the governor of the Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe among others.

In his remarks, Murekezi said Government is doing everything within their power to help the affected by providing temporary shelter until a permanent solution is found.

He also delivered Rwanda’s President Kagame’s condolences to the affected families.

“The government is doing everything possible to help those who were affected by providing temporary shelter till a permanent solution is found. We are also going to continue providing medical care to those who were injured, conduct renovations and construct new infrastructure. We are also trying to put in place measures to combat future disasters,” he said.

The mayor of Gakenke District Déogratias Nzamwita said Gakenke District hasn’t witnessed such a disaster in recent years.

The last landslide of this magnitude last happened in 1987. He also added that it was only three years ago when a road broke down in the district but it didn’t have such a profound impact on the area like the landslides.

Thirty five people from 12 families perished in the process.

“We have 19 injured people in different health centres but according to doctor’s reports, they are expected to make a steady progress. Also this calamity claimed 40 domestic animals, 460 houses were destroyed and many people were left homeless. The landslides also destroyed 1250 hectares of gardens and some feeder roads,” he said.

The mayor also said that affected families are being catered for in partnership with the ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs by providing household essentials.

The ceremony began with a requiem mass led by the Bishop of Ruhengeri Diocese Vincent Harolimana and the ADEPR church.

Most of the Roads were still flooded and muddy but the cleaning activities were underway with Minister of State in Charge of Transport Dr. Alexis Nzahabwanimana on site to oversee the process. Vehicles heading to Musanze were being diverted to use BASE route and through Burera District.

At least 50 people were killed by floods and landslides brought by heavy rains that hit different parts of the country. This happened over the weekend.

By Robert Muriisa.

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