2017 disasters cost Rwanda Rwf6.7 billion - MIDIMAR

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A Huye District resident looks at her garden of beans and maize that was destroyed by floods. File.

Disasters which ravaged several parts of the country during the year 2017 caused many damages whose value is estimated at Rwf6.7 billion, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR).

Rainstorms, lightning, floods, and drought were cited as the major disasters that caused serious damages. The disasters accounted for 82 fatalities and 151 injuries, according to the ministry.

During the past year, MIDIMAR recorded 5,057 damaged houses while 5111 hectares of different crops were destroyed, 13 roads were damaged, 49 bridges, 10 water supply systems and 77 electrical transmission lines were all destroyed.

The disasters also affected 589 livestock, 35 churches, and 3 health centers.

Philippe Habinshuti, the director of disaster response and recovery at MIDIMAR, said that the government has invested Rwf 1.3 billion as part of a quick response to repair the damages and support the affected families.

He said that disasters affected at least each of the 30 districts in the country. However, the most affected districts are; Rusizi, Ngoma, Nyamasheke, Bugesera, Rubavu, Rwamagana, Gicumbi, and Karongi.

More efforts to reduce disaster expenses in 2018

MIDIMAR in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Rwanda Housing Authority among other partners have committed to marshal efforts to ensure that the public is protected from disasters.

“We are still dealing with consequences of last year’s disasters. We are repairing the damages as well as providing relief support where it is still needed. We are working with our partners as well as the public to see how we can harmoniSe the issue of housing by encouraging people to relocate from high risk zones. Also, districts will be empowered to handle some of the disasters,” Habinshuti said.

Augustin Kampayana, the head of human settlement, planning, and development at RHA told The New Times that at least 14,000 households were relocated from high risk zones to model villages last year, adding that 3,900 households are registered to be relocated this fiscal year to end in June in addition to other 17,249 households to be relocated from scattered settlements into planned village settlements.

Kampayana said that RHA will partner with the City of Kigali among other stakeholders to implement the projects that will help families dwelling in the City of Kigali to relocate from the places which can cause the dangers.

“Recently, the City of Kigali among other partners discussed how to support some families dwelling on some hills surrounding the city in order to relocate them. We asked the city of Kigali to design a project under which those families will be supported. The city couldn’t rely on budget only to tackle the issue but other measures should be designed,”he said.

He added that the government has allocated Rwf15 billion this fiscal year to build model housing units in planned settlement sites across the country while Rwf22 billion was allocated for 2016/2017 fiscal year to relocate at least 14,000 households.

Kampayana said that there is a need to continue sensitizing the public on leaving the high risk zones.

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