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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Three injured, over 900 left homeless by heavy rains in Rwanda

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- At least three people were injured and over 900 residents left homeless in flooding triggered by heavy rains in Rubavu District, western Rwanda, on Saturday.

A total of 924 houses were damaged, said Alphonse Munyantwari, governor of Rwanda’s Western Province, on Sunday.

Floods also damaged crops and blocked 11 bridges, the governor told journalists in Rubavu after meeting with local government officials.

Munyantwari said efforts to mobilize relief aid to help the affected residents are underway.

The governor appealed to residents to ensure hygiene standards to avoid outbreak of diseases such as cholera.

Munyantwari said strategies are in place to rebuild affected old bridges, plant trees along the river banks to control floods and relocate residents living in high-risk zones to avoid similar incidents in the future.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

At least 17 killed in garbage dump landslide in Mozambique

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- At least 17 people were killed and several others were injured in a landslide in a garbage dump on the outskirts of the Mozambican capital Maputo due to heavy rain on early Monday morning.

The victims living around the Hulene garbage dump were asleep when the rain caused the garbage to collapse and bury their houses.

Local authorities have been at the site of the accident since morning. Firefighters proceed to debris to rescue survivors or bodies.

Maputo City Governor Yolanda Cintura told the press at the scene that the government will meet today to draw up plans to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

“At this point, the government has already made a commitment to identify places to house people who are homeless due to this bad event,” she said, adding that the number of families affected is still to be quantified.

The governor thanked the efforts of people with good will who are assisting firefighters and other competent authorities in removing debris.

Without giving more details, the governor said the disaster has sped up the government’s pace to close the dump.

Located among houses and in the city, the Hulene garbage dump is a precarious and old dump whose closure has been under discussion for many years.

“The closure is already well underway,” Cintura said, “and most of the families living around the garbage dump have already been resettled in other neighborhoods in Maputo.”

The governor said that although the precarious situation of the dump was identified a long time ago and steps have been taken, many people still return to that place.

The local residents always complain to the government about the nauseating smell of the dump, around which many waste pickers and street-loafers have wandered.

In 2014, the garbage wall collapsed and interrupted the neighboring road for two days.

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Heavy rains kill 50 since last October in Mozambique

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- The death toll from heavy rains has risen to 50 in Mozambique since the rainy season began in October last year, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) revealed in its latest update on Wednesday in capital, Maputo.

“Rains and heavy winds, sometimes accompanied by atmospheric discharges, mostly in northern Mozambique, have caused 50 deaths and affected another 129,683 people since the rainy season began in October last year,” Paulo Tomas, INGC’s spokesperson told reporters.

Tomas said that during the period heavy rains destroyed more than 21,000 houses, 667 classrooms, health facilities and other infrastructures.

According to the spokesperson, the situation is unlikely to turn for the better soon as the hydrological forecast for the next seven days points to possible urban floods in the cities of Maputo, Matola and Beira and erosion in Manica.

“From February 24 to March 4, moderate rainfall is predicted to occur in the southern and central regions. In the northern region, heavy rains are expected, and the accumulated precipitation may reach between 100 and 300 millimeters, “said the spokesman.

On early Monday morning, 17 people died when a garbage dump collapsed, engulfing seven shacks in the neighborhood of Hulene on the outskirts of Maputo. The mudslide was caused by overnight rainfall from Sunday to Monday.

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