Following devastating earthquakes in Nyamasheke and Rusizi Districts in February, over Frw5 billion was fund-raised towards the rehabilitation of people who suffered loss of houses, crops and property; in addition to huge losses of infrastructure like schools and health centres.
Big corporations in the country and ministries contributed towards resettling broken-down lives and infrastructure following this calamity, in addition to small but important empathetic contributions from individuals within and outside the country. There is no doubt that citizens instantly rallied towards fellow humanity’s cause.
It is greatly disappointing therefore, to learn that this whopping amount is lying idle and is only being very slowly applied, as people live in misery and hopelessness.
It is the kind of big intervention that would really have been helpful to the affected people and areas, almost instantly, but succor has been held down by bureaucracy’s insensitive hand.
Seven months down the road, people in charge of the earthquake victims’ rehabilitation programme should be ashamed of themselves to have so far constructed only 56 classrooms out of a total of 300 needed; and only 25 houses out of over 2000 houses needed, in both districts.
Ordinarily, it is always a case of unavailability of funds that bogs down intervention programmes; so this is a first where the funds were availed, but implementation failed for unclear reasons.
All concerned ministers and local government officials should take immediate action. It is not enough to get embarrassed about failing to disburse humanitarian aid – and we sure do not wish to see the beginning of a blame game.
It is important to make sure that the people who are sleeping out in the cold, and the children who are going without school, are properly catered for first. Only after this has been done should we consider looking into the issue of who failed to do what when it mattered most.