127 Die As Flooding Hits Rwanda
At least 127 people have died as floods and landslides engulfed several parts of Rwanda after torrential rains, destroying homes and cutting off roads, the presidency said Wednesday.
Images posted online by the state broadcaster showed rivers of mud sweeping through the streets as residents scrambled for safety, some wading through the water or clambering over the corrugated iron roofs of collapsed houses.
The small country in the Great Lakes region of Africa has been hit by similar disasters in the past but this appears to be the deadliest in several years.
Rwanda’s government said it was setting up shelters for the homeless in schools and other buildings, without giving a number for those displaced.
“Rescue interventions are ongoing in the most affected districts… in order to secure endangered citizens,” President Paul Kagame’s office said in a statement announcing that 127 people had lost their lives so far.
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“My deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the landslides and floods that occurred last night in the Western, Northern and Southern Provinces,” Kagame said in a separate statement on Twitter.
“We are doing everything within our means to address this difficult situation.”
The state-run Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) said most of the deaths occurred in Western Province which borders Lake Kivu.
“I was at home with my children but we escaped successfully before it collapsed,” said Jane Munyemana, a resident in the town of Rubavu in Western Province.
“We plan to remove the floodwaters and sleep in it tonight but we are worried that it may rain again and destroy whatever is remaining,” she told AFP.
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In the first four months of 2018, more than 200 people died in Rwanda because of floods and landslides.
Other parts of East Africa have also been battered by rains and flooding in recent days, including Uganda where six people have been reported dead.
– ‘Massive landslides’ –
Alain Mukuralinda, deputy spokesman for the Rwandan government, told AFP that residents in affected areas have been instructed not to stay in their homes overnight and to find shelter in other sites such as schools.
“We have managed to get essentials such as food, water and electricity in some of these sites and we are trying to get more necessities to ensure that all the affected do not lack the basics in this period,” he added.
Rwanda’s minister in charge of emergency management, Marie Solange Kayisire, had earlier told RBA that the authorities were already helping to bury victims of the disaster and provide supplies to those whose homes were destroyed.
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“When the floods started, there were massive landslides which caused trees to fall and bury the road down here. Our plantations were also washed away. We have a big problem down here,” one woman in Northern Province told RBA.
In neighbouring Uganda, six people died in the west of the country when landslides struck their homes after days of torrential rain, according to the local Red Cross.
It said five of the dead belonged to the same family and were from a single village.
Images shared by the Red Cross showed local farmers perched on steeply terraced hillsides digging through the fresh mudslide and homes buried up to their rooftops in mud.
East Africa often suffers from flooding and landslides during the rainy seasons, although several countries in the Horn of Africa have been in the grip of the worst drought in decades.
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Experts say extreme weather events are happening with increased frequency and intensity due to climate change — and Africa, which contributes the least to global warming, is bearing the brunt.
Last month, at least 14 people died after heavy rains triggered floods and landslides in southern Ethiopia, regional police said. Hundreds of livestock perished and scores of houses were damaged.
In May 2020, at least 65 people died in Rwanda as heavy rains pounded the region, while at least 194 deaths were reported in Kenya.
At the end of 2019, at least 265 people died and tens of thousands were displaced during two months of relentless rainfall in several countries in East Africa.
The extreme downpours affected close to two million people and washed away tens of thousands of livestock in Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Govs Back Tinubu On Subsidy Removal
State Governors on Wednesday expressed strong support for President Bola Tinubu’s decision to end fuel subsidy payments in the country and other early policy initiatives of the administration.
The governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, expressed their support to President Tinubu during the first meeting the President was having with them at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The state chief executives, who took turns to speak at the meeting were led by the NGF Chairman and governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who expressed happiness with the President’s subsidy-removal decision, all-inclusive leadership and statesmanship.
They congratulated President Tinubu for tackling the fuel subsidy behemoth, promising to work with him to ameliorate the short-term impact of the decision.
President Tinubu had earlier called on the governors to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling the menace of poverty in the country, saying the level of impoverishment was unacceptable.
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The President advised the political leaders to downplay their differences and jointly focus on alleviating the sufferings and pains of the people.
“We can see the effects of poverty on the faces of our people. Poverty is not hereditary, it is from the society. Our position is to eliminate poverty. Set aside partisan politics, we are here to deliberate about Nigeria and nation-building,’’ he said.
President Tinubu stated that the nation should be seen as one big family.
“We are a family occupying one house, and sleeping in different rooms. If we see it that way and push forward, we will get our people out of poverty. A determined mind is a fertile ground for delivering on results,’’ he added.
The President said good governance would safeguard the future of democracy.
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“Present in this room is our diversity in culture and politics, but we are one nation. The unity and stability of the country rest upon us.
“We are in a democracy and we have to nurture the democracy. It is a hard-earned system and not easy to manage. If anyone thinks it is easy, look at other nations that are over a hundred years in democracy.
“We have managed ourselves very well to have a democracy. We have campaigned and arrived at our present destination. We must work for our people,’’ President Tinubu told the governors while assuring them that he would maintain an open-door policy.
The President said he was prepared to share ideas, strengthen institutions, and create bottom-up frameworks that will improve the livelihood of Nigerians.
“What do we do in the face of crushing poverty? What do we do with our development goals? We took the bull by the horns by removing the elephant in the room before the nation sinks.
“We need synergy to fight other vices like corruption. We are trying to get smugglers out of the way. How do we work together to galvanize the economy, and put resources in place? We must think and perform.
“After removing subsidy, there must be savings accruing to the Federation Account,’’ he noted.
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President Tinubu said the education sector must be improved as part of efforts to reduce poverty and penury:
“How do we address the unacceptable level of poverty? How much are we investing in education, which is the only tool against poverty? I am ready to collaborate with you.’’
The President also drew attention to the security problems in some states, admonishing the governors that all efforts should be put in place to tackle the security situation, without thinking it’s only for those facing it.
The Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRasaq, thanked the President for the invitation to deliberate on the challenges of poverty and security, promising that the governors would support the Federal Government in meeting the targets of human development.
“The NGF will follow the tradition of working constitutionally and harmoniously with you,’’ he said.
The meeting, which was attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima and new Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, had 22 governors and two deputy governors from Edo and Niger States, in attendance.
The governors made suggestions highlighting the plight of citizens in their states, assuring the President of their support in proffering solutions through the National Economic Council.
3 Months After Arriving UK, Nigerian Masters Student Arrested For Allegedly [email protected] Minors
A Nigerian man identified as Cyril Kenneth has been arrested by the police after being accused of dating minors in Belfast, UK.
According to a video shared by Warriors of Children, Kenneth who arrived in February for his Masters degree, was arrested after multiple children between the ages of 14 and 15 reported him with evidence of him gr%oming and s£x¥ally hara§§ing them.
In the text messages he had with some of the victims, Kenneth sent his unsolicited indecent pictures, asked some of them for their house addresses, invited one of them to his house for s+x, amongst other di§turbing messages.
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The suspect, however, confessed to the crime and blamed it on temptation from the devil.
He said he contacted the kids because he needed friends as he was new to the country. He was subsequently handed over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Nicki Minaj Sued For Allegedly Damaging Borrowed Jewellery
American rapper, Nicki Minaj has been dragged to court over alleged unpaid bills for custom jewellery.
A West Hollywood jeweller, Roseark Jewellery store, is suing the rapper after she damaged some bling they loaned her.
Meanwhile, Nicki’s attorney said she’s not responsible, claiming the jeweller is just using her for publicity.
According to a new lawsuit, Nicki’s stylist, Brett Alan Nelson, signed a contract with Roseark Jewellery Store, with Roseark agreeing to loan Nicki jewellery for a public appearance.
The store also said the contract called for Brett to return the bling within a week and pay for any damages the jewellery might incur under his watch.
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However, Nicki’s stylist failed to return 66 pieces of jewellery by the agreed-upon deadline, and, when he finally did, there was noticeable damage to a set of earrings and a leaf ring.
A source close to Nicki told TMZ that everything was returned on time as promised, and it was only after items had been in the jeweller’s possession for some time that the store complained about a missing stone.
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