Three days of torrential rain destroyed more than 1,000 homes, most of them mud huts, and unearthed 50 tombs in a rural section of this central African nation, officials said Wednesday. The downpour started Sunday and washed away 900 homes in Mpanda and 200 in Kinyinya, according administrators in the region. The homeless took refuge in neighboring areas, said Sylvestre Nzohabonayo, Mpanda's administrator.
"It is a serious catastrophe which requires too many means to be under control," said Toure Pegnaminy, a spokesman for the United Nation mission here. Fifty tombs in a cemetery also were destroyed before the rain ended Tuesday night.
Burundi is emerging from more than a decade of ethnic clashes between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis which left more than 250,000 people, mostly civilians, dead. A series of peace deals led to democratic elections last year and the formation of a power-sharing government.
About 80 percent of Burundians are subsistence farmers, many eking out livings on plots averaging just 1 Ѕ acres. Nearly half of adults are illiterate. The economy, based largely on the export of coffee, has been ravaged by the conflict, reports the AP.
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