Flood death toll rises
Five people died in the floods that devastated three districts of the Western and Northern provinces last Wednesday, the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs has said..
A statement from the ministry says one person died in Musanze, two in Rubavu, and two in Nyabihu.
Government officials led by the Prime Minster, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremye, on Saturday, toured the areas hit by the floods to assess the extent of the damage.
Over 870 hectares of crops, including potatoes, beans, maize and other crops were destroyed.
It all happened after water gushing from Karisimbi Mountain changed course and flooded the water channels in the affected areas of Kimonyi, Gataraga, Musanze, Shingiro and others.
“We had last witnessed such an incident where water loses its course and meanders into our gardens in 1982. We have lost crops, houses, roads destroyed, we have to begin dealing with this phenomenon in a more sustainable manner,” said Damascene Ngendahimana, a resident of Kimonyi sector in Musanze.
The Prime Minister ordered for immediate assistance to victims of the disaster which ruined170 houses, displacing over 400 people now sheltered by neighbours.
He was accompanied by a team of six ministers who comprise the government’s Disaster Management Steering Committee.
They included Defence Minister Gen. James Kabarebe, Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees affairs, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, Stanislas Kamanzi of Natural Resources, Dr Agnes Binagwaho (Health), Musa Fazil Harerimana of Internal Security and Dr Alvera Mukabaramba (State, Social Affairs).
The Premier asked the line ministries and other partners to design sustainable environmental protection and disaster prevention measures.
“We have to deal with the major cause of this problem by setting up sustainable measures. Government will provide all necessary materials to avert this problem, the residents ought to protect infrastructure, and understand this problem well,” the Prime Minister told the committee.
Earlier, in Rubavu District, Habumuremyi visited Petit Seminaire de Nyundo, Nyundo Genocide Memorial Site, and Mahoko trading centre in Kanama sector, which were all devastated by the floods.
In Nyabihu, the team visited Jenda sector, where over 16 houses were destroyed and other affected areas.
In Musanze, they visited Kinigi paved road towards Virunga National Park, which was still flooded.
Minister Gatsinzi said the government would provide immediate relief to the affected families.
“This is the reason why the Prime Minister and senior government officials and experts visited. We have observed the situation, and I can assure you that the government will soon avail aid to victims in form of food, shelter, sanitation facilities, as we continue to devise long-term solutions,” said Gatsinzi.
The meeting further directed affected districts to submit reports detailing damaged properties and the urgent assistance needed in each district.
The floods came weeks after heavy rains hit eastern Rwanda causing property loss and rendering many homeless.
According to a recent press statement from the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, torrential rains recently damaged at least 20 homes in Gatsibo and Kirehe districts, flooded farmland and left 100 villagers homeless.
A report released by the Rwanda meteorological services recently said the area received between 60 mm to 120 mm of rainfall non-stop for weeks in Eastern Province, warning more losses were expected unless there is a let-up.