Nyarugenge DISTRICT authorities have been tasked with fixing drainage channels ‘before the situation gets worse.’
The call was made yesterday by Natural Resources Minister Stanislas Kamanzi during a tour to assess damage caused by Monday evening floods on the main road leading to the city centre from Nyabugogo.
Although no casualties were reported, Nyabugogo, the main gateway that links three provinces with Kigali, suffered major destruction on Monday due to floods triggered by heavy downpour.
Minsiter Kamanzi said; “This should not be happening. Look at the filth in the drainage channels. The whole problem is about water ways that are being mismanaged. Officials must ensure that the infrastructure in place is well managed so that it can accommodate the water which causes floods,” Kamanzi said.
The minister added that residents in the area had also stubbornly constructed buildings in the wetland areas, through which the rainwater should to be redirected. This meant the buildings blocked the flow of water and caused floods, he said.
“We have given a number of tasks to the Mayor of Nyarugenge and to the (Kigali) city engineer to develop a clear picture of all the waterways we have in the city. We asked them to carry out an assessment of all the obstructions to the drainage infrastructure so that they can be fixed – this must be done before the end of this week,” he said.
When The New Times visited the area yesterday, road repairs were ongoing. In the drainage channels, a visible amount of waste material, including plastic bottles, rugs and boxes, clogged the system.
According to the police spokesperson, Damas Gatare, police and City of Kigali authorities were “doing all they could” to reopen the road. Traffic into the city centre was diverted via Kimisagara and the highway reserved only for heavy trucks.
Solange Mukasonga, the Mayor of Nyarugenge District said works are in the pipeline to ensure that the flooding in the area is controlled.
“We are going to ensure that flooding in this area is controlled. We have unblocked some waterways, such as the Kigali Regional Stadium area (Nyamirambo) and are now working on unblocking two others around the market in Kimisagara,” Mukasonga said.
“Drainage canals and waterways are public property just like roads; so we are telling people to respect them. They should be able to remove any barrier to the flow of water.”
However, some Nyabugogo residents objected to the notion of evicting those with structures located along drainage paths.
“These buildings were constructed in the 90s and people have lived here for a long time. It would be unfair to evict them. The officials should create other drainage routes,” a resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
The Rwanda Meteorology Centre had in its weather forecast for the August to October rainy season, indicated that the rains would not be too heavy to cause floods.
And officials maintained yesterday that it was not heavy downpour but mismanagement of the drainage channels in Nyabugogo that suffocated the flow of water.
Redesign to improve
“This is purely a case of mismanagement. The kind of rain we have had so far is not out of the expected. If the officials in Nyarugenge District had ensured that the drainage system was cleared before the rains, we would not be having such problems,” Didas Musoni, the head of data application and research at the Rwanda Meteorology Centre told The New Times in an interview yesterday.
The Rwanda Transport Development Agency and the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority earlier this month said they had come up with a Rwf1.2b plan to redesign and improve the Nyabugogo drainage system.
The project includes construction of a retention pond at River Muhazi channel, redesigning all the drainage water banks and reconstruction of a section of the road network to the area that has become a death trap from floods.
The project that is already underway will take two months to complete.
Three people were killed by raging floods last rainy season, which also saw property worth millions of francs in Nyabugogo lost.