By IGNATIUS SSUUNA
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Torrential rains caused flooding in western and northern Rwanda, killing at least 129 people, a public broadcaster said Wednesday.
The death toll “continues to rise,” the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency said Wednesday.
“This could be the highest disaster-induced death toll to be recorded in the country in the shortest period, according to available records from recent years,” the government-backed New Times newspaper reported.
Francois Habitegeko, governor of Rwanda’s Western province, told reporters that a search for more victims was underway following heavy rain Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Strong rainstorms started last week, causing flooding and mudslides that swept away several houses across the country and left some roads inaccessible.
The Rwanda Meteorology Agency has warned that more rain is coming.
The government has in the past asked residents living in wetlands and other dangerous areas to relocate.
The western and northern provinces and Kigali, the capital, are particularly hilly, making them vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season.
The Ministry of Emergency Management reported last month that from January to April 20, weather-related disasters killed 60 people, destroyed more than 1,205 houses and damaged 2,000 hectares (around 5,000 acres) of land across Rwanda.
Parts of East Africa, including Uganda’s southwest, also are seeing heavy rainfall.
At least three people drowned in floods last week after a river burst its banks in the remote Ugandan district of Rukungiri.