Heavy rain caused floods and landslides in western and northern Rwanda, killing at least 109 people, according to the state-run radio, while police looked for survivors stranded in their houses.
In a video footage uploaded by the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, muddy water surged quickly along a flooded road, destroying buildings.
“Our main priority now is to reach every house that has been damaged to ensure we can rescue any person who may be trapped,” Rwanda’s Western Province governor, François Habitegeko, told reporters.
According to him, the province’s death toll stood at 95. The 109 fatalities reported by the official broadcaster included those from a second area, the Northern Province.
Habitegeko said that some persons had been rescued and sent to the hospital, but he did not specify how many.
According to him, the hardest-hit areas in the Western Province were Rutsiro (26 dead), Nyabihu (19 dead), and Rubavu and Ngororero (18 each).
The rain began at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, according to Habitegeko, and the River Sebeya breached its banks.
“The soil was already soaked from the previous days of rain, which caused landslides that closed roads,” he said.
Rainfall in Rwanda is expected to be above normal in May, according to the Rwanda Meteorology Agency.
According to the Uganda Red Cross, six people perished overnight into Wednesday in an area in the southwestern Kisoro district of neighbouring Uganda, near the border with Rwanda, when torrential rains hammered the hilly terrain.
Five of the deceased are from the same family, and the Red Cross stated in a statement that excavations to recover the corpses had started.
Since late March, Uganda has been experiencing strong and prolonged rains, and landslides have been recorded in other high places, such as Kasese near the Rwenzori mountains, where deluges and floods wrecked houses and displaced hundreds.