Frequency Of Landslides On The Rise In Rwanda
At least 20 people, many of them children, were killed overnight by devastating landslides in northern Rwanda triggered by torrential rainstorms, the disaster management ministry said today.
“Up until now we have counted at least 20 dead in landslides that buried houses in the district of Gakenke,” the ministry’s spokesman Frederic Ntawukuriryayo told AFP. “Most of the victims were children,” Ntawukuriryayo added, without specifying how many were minors. The landslides occurred at the peak of Rwanda’s rainy season, affecting homes on hillsides and in valleys. “It’s a huge catastrophe,” the spokesman said, adding that rescuers had managed to pull some survivors out of the disaster area.
The hilly, densely populated central African nation is frequently hit by landslides and the government has been moving people out of the most at-risk areas in a bid to limit the casualties. But “this year, the incidents and number of victims is rising,” said Ntawukuriryayo, blaming the El Nino weather phenomenon.
At least 67 people have been killed in such incidents across Rwanda from January to April this year, 12 of them on a single night in the suburbs of the capital Kigali, where 1,500 homes were damaged during rainstorms.
Heavy Rains, Landslides Leave People Stranded, Missing And Injured In China
Over 200 people, including tourists, were today trapped in south China’s picturesque Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, hit by heavy rainfall. Around 250 people remained stranded in villages after torrential rain flooded roads, cut off electricity and caused houses to collapse in Yangshuo County, a popular tourism destination, since earlier this week.
Authorities have managed to rescue 61 trapped people and are sending in essential supplies to the remaining 250 trapped in two villages.
In Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County, 140 tourists were stranded at a scenic spot till evening as torrential rain caused many roads to collapse.
In related news, at least 41 people were missing and seven others injured today when a massive landslide engulfed the construction site of a hydropower station and its office building in China’s southeastern Fujian province. Over a lakh cubic meters of mud buried temporary sheds at a hydropower station construction site and damaged its offices located in Taining County.
State television showed footage of hundreds of rescue workers trying to dig through the massive pile of mud to locate survivors. The landslide was triggered by heavy downpours that unleashed 191. 6 millimeters of rain in 24 hours since Saturday.
The local tourism administration has ordered all scenic spots to shut down. The mountainous county boasts rich scenic lakes and canyons. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered he Fujian local government and related departments to make maximum efforts to rescue the trapped people.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has also called for all-out efforts to search for and rescue those missing in the landslide and to treat the injured. Li also asked the Ministry of Land and Resources to take the lead to form and dispatch a work team under the State Council (Cabinet) to Fujian to oversee and help with rescue work.