Banks, Hospital close after Strong Earthquakes rock Rwandan border town of Rubavu

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Two branches of Bank of Kigali suspended services in Rubavu town on Wednesday over safety fears following a strong quake that damaged property and infrastructure; Courtesy Photo

A number of business services have been closed in the border city of Rubavu, western province of Rwanda following a series of earthquakes that have damaged property and infrastructure in the town and its environs.

On Tuesday, Rubavu district experienced a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, the heaviest that has been recorded ever since Nyirangongo volcano in the neighboring Congo erupted on Saturday displacing thousands of people.

Rubavu is the epicenter of successive earthquakes that have occurred in many parts of Rwanda after the eruption. However, data from Rwanda Seismic Monitor, there were also trembling in Kigali and the Eastern Province.

According to local media, the affected activities include medical services at the Rubavu District Hospital, the main town market and banking services at Bank of Kigali branches in the area. A teachers’ saving and credit cooperative Umwalimu Sacco also suspended services, the media reported.

Most of the closed services are located in the way of a fissure that has developed across the city and has been attributed to the Nyiragongo Volcano eruption that happened on Saturday.

Gilbert Habyarimana, the Mayor of Rubavu District, confirmed the temporary closure of the services saying they have asked people to be vigilant.

The fissure is thought to be part of a big underlying rift, which wrecked buildings and one major road in town.

“Apparently, there’s a big rift. We have asked people to vacate buildings located along the rift in order to avoid the risk posed by the tremors,” Habyarimana said on Tuesday evening.

According to the Mayor, at least five medical services have been relocated to other hospitals in Musanze and Nyabihu districts, and the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK).

Health officials at Rubavu District Hospital said some surgery patients have been moved to Kigali and only emergency cases can be admitted to the hospital until the situation normalizes.

Officials added that Covid-19 patients have sent for home-based care, because none of them were in a severe condition.

Patients in surgery and neonatology departments have also been moved to Ruhengeri Referral Hospital in Musanze while those in internal medicine department moved to Shyira Hospital in Nyabihu. Maternity services have been moved to Rugerero Health Center in Rubavu, officials said.

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