Fri, 24 Jan 2020

At least 38 people died in Burundi after heavy rains triggered landslides that swept through hillside communities in the northwest of the country, according to a provisional police toll on Thursday.

Heavy rains fell on Nyempundu hills in Mugina, Cibitoke province, around 120km north of the country's main port Bujumbura, "causing landslides," police said on social media.

"It happened in the night, when everyone was at home, and landslides hit three very steep hills and buried everything in their path," a witness told AFP.

"Whole families were buried alive in their homes or in the fields. It was terrifying."

Police said 22 died in Nyempundu, three in Gikomero, 13 in Rukombe, through those were provisional figures.

Landslides are frequent in Burundi, a mountainous country in Africa's Great Lakes region.

The Nyempundu hills are about five kilometres from the Rwandan border, in a difficult region to access. Local authorities including the Cibitoke governor were at the scene, witnesses said.

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