During the dry season when crops look like they would wither, farmers pray for the first drop of rainfall. When this happens, everyone becomes happy that the high temperatures and great amounts of dust will at least reduce.
The effect of rain at any point in time is always very compelling. Rain generally nourishes the soil, making for the planting of crops. Rain sustains rivers, lakes and other basins. It can be particularly refreshing, especially when it douses excessive temperatures.
If this rain is just adequate there is usually no cause for worry but as soon as the rains persist and cases of flooding start being reported, then people start looking out.
Briefly put, rain could be both an extremely good and bad friend. We all know how excessive rainfall results in rivers overflowing their banks and drowning people. It also brings along increased risk of malaria and water-borne diseases in flood-prone areas
The weathermen have predicted more than once that El Nino or very heavy down pour is likely to be encountered in this last quarter of the year. This year’s El Niño rains are expected to be the heaviest in recent history.
It is a tricky situation for our agricultural sector that needs this rain in a calm manner. If this happens then it is inevitable that various sectors of the economy will therefore be affected.
Previous El Niño events brought floods to the Horn of Africa in 1997-1998 and 2006-2007 and drought to the Sahel in 2012, resulting in losses of lives, harvests and livestock as well as infrastructure damage and outbreaks of hunger and disease.
All exceptionally heavy rains have always caused havoc including in most parts of eastern Africa; the water demolished homes and household items, as well as washed away crops and livestock.
Roads and bridges have in the past been destroyed, power lines down and people’s access to clean, safe water greatly affected.
Transporters, especially of heavy duty goods like timber, petroleum products and beer are the hardest hit by bad roads during the rains. Ironically, it is during this period that automobile spare parts dealers make big profits and visits to their shops for spare parts become the norms of the motorists.
Rwanda’s hilly western and northern regions mostly get prone to landslides and flooding. The people in these regions have borne the brunt of changing weather patterns characterized by heavy rains and landslides.
In other parts of our country, sporadic cases of floods are recorded in the rainy season, especially in situations where water paths have been blocked.
But the real seamy side of the rainy season in Rwanda is the fact that footpaths cutting across the undulated terrains of the hilly land are rendered almost impassable.
Tarmacked roads as well get wet and slippery, owing to the fact of their curvature, these poses another high risks to vehicle and motorcycle riding on these roads during heavy rains.
Some of this ugly side of rain is beyond human intervention. The question to ask is have we learnt our lessons on why we experience floods and attendant damage to properties in the event of rains? As government does it part, we must not relent but take action before the rains begin to wreck cause havoc gain.
It all goes with how well early warning systems are able to prepare us for climate-fragility risks, and if policy makers are able to start managing risks instead of responding to crisis. It needs our collective capacity and action to make use of this data and knowledge for forward planning and disaster preparedness.
There should be ability to anticipate how climate will change from one year to the next that can lead to better management of agriculture, water supplies, fisheries, and other resources.
By incorporating climate predictions into every management decisions, we can become better adapted to the irregular rhythms of climate change’s level of complexity.
Rain is invigorating, soothing, energizing, and sets the cycle of growth in motion. Nothing good can happen without the rain. There cannot be food on the table without rain and of course, no life without water! So even though rain may be unpleasant for a time, it should never be an enemy.
Creatures that live in the ocean can survive on salt water, but human beings and organisms on land generally depend on fresh water for survival. Rain is the means by which fresh water is created.
Without rain, there would be no fresh water available, and life would have evolved in a different manner.
Therefore, water remains the single most essential ingredient of life and we should always perceive positives from every single drop of rain.