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HomeEnvironmentSouth-Western Burundi: Heavy rain kills 3 people as Lake Tanganyika overrun

South-Western Burundi: Heavy rain kills 3 people as Lake Tanganyika overrun

Lake Tanganyika remains the main deposit of nearby bare mountains run-offs_ erosion made_during rainy seasons and industry wastages which threatens not only humans but also lake’s biodiversity.

On Monday the 21st of July, 2022 in Rumonge, were killed 3 people after it rained cats and dogs. Witnesses reported that a child aged 8 and another aged 10 were killed in the midst of the torrential rain.

“In commune Burambi in Busaga quarter an eight years old child was struck by lightning” reported A.K a local authority.

He added that another child lost his life when a tree fell of the family house where they lived.

The third man, said A.K, in his 50’s was found lifeless at the river bank after he drown in Rutunga river.

“In Kibingo quarter, Mpitabakana Onesphore failed to swim in Rutunga and drown.

Not only people were killed but also crops were destroyed or washed away.

“At Mubone quarter, one hectare of banana field was swept out while two hectares of cassava were cleaned up by floods”, report local authorities.

In addition, twenty five houses were destroyed while nineteen were seriously damaged among which a church.

As reported by local authorities in Muhuta commune, in Gitaza quarter, four houses were destroyed whereas thirteen were flooded. One hectare of cassava was imported by floods of the river Nyamusenyi. It deported also a half hectare of legumes plantation.

Heavy downpour mixed with strong winds hit different localities of Rumonge province in southern of Burundi leaving many families homeless.

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It is, as said environmental experts, a result of climate change driven by mainly deforestation which left proxy rivers fighting for themselves for they are not protected.

“Mountains of the regions are naked, you can hardly find a tree as a consequence when it rains run-offs deport everything on the way causing unprecedented flooding”, said the environmentalist and professor at the National University of Burundi, Jean Marie Sabushimike.

He followed saying that floods haunt lake’s Tanganyika biodiversity including fish and waters species.

“When it floods, it deports from crops fertilizers and agricultural nutrients. Once deposited in the lake they suffocate fish species and make it hard for them to breathe since chemicals pollute water”, he said.

As for aquatic plants, he continued, they deprived from oxygen. Their roots cannot suck it from polluted waters. Since it takes days to filter, plants are likely to dried up.

Lake Tanganyika has been experiencing from February to April heavy deposit from its affluents including major (Malagarazi River in South and Rusizi in West) and minor one such Nyamusenyi, Rutunga, rivers running-in from

Rusizi has been causing harm to Gatumba citizens. Last year, it left over 60,000 families displaced due to floods.

Experts stressed out pressure on both the river and the lake mainly driven by building and cultivating up to its shores.

According to Lake Tanganyika Authority, the Lake’senvironment faces multiple challenges, resulting from the activities of rapidly expanding human populations in the riparian countries mainly Burundi since it is the only one that has a nearby growing town.

The most immediate threats include unsustainable agricultural practises and deforestation, resulting in erosion and excessive sediment and nutrient loads, report Lake Tanganyika Authority.

Also is added industrial and urban pollution (including boat discharges), Overexploitation of the lake’s fish stocks, Effects of global climate change.

“The transboundary environmental problems in the Lake Tanganyika basin have the potential to impact the livelihoods of millions of people”, reads the report.

To date, over 800 people have been affected while over 400 were left homeless either due to heavy rains or fatal winds according to Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data compiled from the 7th to the 13th of March, 2022

Main hinted province are West provinces including Cibitoke, Bubanza, and Rumonge along with North province Ngozi.

DTM reports that 274 men were affected together with 189 women.

Espoir Iradukunda
Espoir Iradukunda
Data Investigative Journalist


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