Rwanda: Floods kill 10, displace hundreds in northwest

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

KIGALI, 6 Feb 2007 (IRIN) - At least 10 people have been killed and hundreds more displaced in flooding after heavy rains in northwestern Rwanda, a government official said.

Among the dead were a 56-year-old woman and three school-children, who drowned as they tried to flee their homes. The flood-waters also destroyed 354 homes in Rubavu District, area mayor Ramadhan Barengayabo said on Monday.

He said the displaced fled their homes after the heavy weekend rains caused Sebeya River to rise and have yet to receive any aid.

"We are still evaluating the damage caused by these rains, but overall, these people are in need of shelter and medical assistance," Barengayabo said.

He said the government had appealed for further humanitarian intervention to limit the outbreak of infectious diseases at the temporary camps for the displaced.

"The government is trying to find alternative ways of assisting the displaced. We have already provided first-aid kits, some medical supplies and local leaders are mobilising other organisations and individuals to help," Barengayabo said.

He said the Rwandan Red Cross had indicated it would provide household utensils, medicine and three metric tonnes of food, including maize and beans.

In December 2006, 14 people died and 2,000 were displaced after heavy rains caused flooding in northern Rwanda. The flood-waters submerged at least 5,000 homes and 3,000 hectares of farmland, forcing farmers to seek refuge on higher ground.