Rwanda is in the midst of two major crisis, one floods which has killed 109 people as per date and the non-infectious Elephantiasis disease which 7000 people are affected as per date according to WHO reports.
Heavy rains that triggered floods and landslides in western and northern Rwanda have killed at least 109 people, the state broadcaster said on Wednesday, as authorities searched for survivors stuck in their homes.
Muddy water rushed down a flooded road and destroyed houses in a video clip released by the Rwanda Broadcasting Corporation.
“Our main priority now is to reach every house that has been destroyed to make sure that we can save anyone who might be stuck,” Francois Habitegeko, the governor of Rwanda’s Western Region, told Reuters.
The death toll has reached 95 in the state, he said. The state broadcaster’s death toll of 109 included deaths in the second region, the Northern Region.
Some people were rescued and taken to hospital, Habitegeko said, but he did not say how many.
The most affected districts in the Western Region are Rutsiro, with 26 dead, Nyabihu with 19, and 18 each in Rubavu and Ngororero, he said.
Habitegeko said the rain started around 6pm. (4:00 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday and the Sebeya River had risen from its bed.
“The ground was already wet from the rains of the previous days, which caused landslides that blocked the road,” he said.
The Rwanda Meteorological Agency has predicted above average rainfall in May for the East African country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 7,000 people in Rwanda have been affected by podoconiosis, a non-contagious form of elephantiasis caused by prolonged contact with red, irritating volcanic soil.
Neglected tropical disease is responsible for approximately four million cases of leg swelling (lymphedema) in the highlands of the tropics and those of 17 countries in Africa, Central and South America and South Asia and from the South East.
WHO noted that of the 17 countries where there is evidence of podoconiosis, 12 are in Africa, three in Latin America and two in Asia.
“Tropical African countries bear the highest disease burden with approximately 1.5 million people living with podoconiosis in Ethiopia, another 40,000 in Cameroon, 9,000 in Kenya and 7,000 in Rwanda,” the report said.
This disease mostly affects the poor and rural farming communities.
It causes preventable disability through swollen legs and feet and severe attacks requiring hospitalization for 3-5 days per episode.
Podoconiosis is preventable and treatable. “Prevention is to avoid contact with irritating soil by wearing shoes, covering the floor of the house and paved roads,” WHO said.
“Treatment using a comprehensive lymphedema control package has been shown to reduce swelling, disability, and the incidence of acute attacks, improve quality of life, and can be easily integrated into government community health services”, he added.
According to the WHO, the average age at which leg tumors are first diagnosed is 25 years and the disease is common until the sixth decade.
The disease is more common in women; A recent meta-analysis concluded that the probability of podoconiosis in women was 1.15 times higher than in men.
The first symptoms of the disease include a burning sensation and itching at the back of the legs. The thickening of the skin is accompanied by some growth on the sides of the feet and the heel.