The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR) wants to have its budget increased by 17 per cent from about Rwf4.5billion in the current fiscal year to about Rwf5.3 billion next year.
MIDIMAR officials appeared before the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony yesterday as part of on-going hearings on the Government’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year 2018/2019.
Funds budgeted for the next fiscal year will be spent on the ministry’s priority areas, such as assistance to Rwandan and foreign refugees, disaster management, as well as the ministry’s recurrent budget like paying for staff salaries and office supplies.
But the Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDMAR), Jeanne d’Arc De Bonheur, said that the budget has been increased mainly out of the need to support victims of disasters, especially those affected by recent rains that engulfed the country in the last four months.
The ministry plans to help in rehabilitating houses destroyed by recent rains by distributing iron sheets to poor households in categories one and two of Ubudehe social stratification.
Over 10,000 homes were destroyed by the recent rains, according to figures released by the Prime Minister’s Office last week.
“There are many people who still need iron sheets because they were affected by disasters and we want to do everything possible to help them,” she said in an interview.
In the area of disaster risk reduction and preparedness, the ministry will monitor the relocation of 10,209 households from high risk zones and the minister said that her ministry will also spend money on buying iron sheets for poor families who need to relocate.
De Bonheur also said that the ministry will focus more on the prevention of disasters in the next fiscal year, with projects such as installing lightning protection systems in public buildings, training hundreds of people on risk reduction and management, and promoting disaster awareness.
She said that efforts will be made to equip all public buildings with lightning protection systems while businesses across the country will be encouraged to install the systems as well.
The chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, advised the ministry to fast-track setting up of a fund through which Rwandans can regularly pull money together in order to reach out to those affected by disasters.
“There should be a disaster fund to which willing Rwandans can contribute because dealing with disasters needs a lot of money,” she said.
Last week, the Government established a team to speed up the relocation of citizens who live in high risk zones and whose lives are in danger due to rain-induced disasters.
The team is comprised of several ministries including those in charge of disaster management (MIDIMAR), social welfare (MINALOC), infrastructure (MININFRA), environment (MOE), health (MoH), agriculture and livestock (MINAGRI) as well as defence (MOD).