Officials in four districts with predicted heavy rainfall of 200-250 millimetres have implemented measures to address potential soil erosion, flooding, and landslides as projected by the Rwanda Meteorology Agency. The four districts include Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru. ALSO READ: Weather forecaster predicts January flooding threat The districts will, in January 2024, experience heavy rain considering the amount of rainfall threshold that can cause disasters. Rainfall below 10 millimetres is considered light and has very low impact while moderate rainfall ranges between 10 and 25 millimetres with low or minor impact. Heavy rain with significant impact ranges between 25 and 40 millimetres while very heavy rain with high or severe impact starts above 40 millimetres. ALSO READ: Meteo Rwanda names districts at risk of heavy rains Alice Kayitesi, Governor of Southern Province where Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts are located, told The New Times that efforts are underway to relocate 845 families that are still in high-risk zones in both districts as a way to adapt to the disaster effects, such as landslides. “There are 807 families in Nyamagabe, 38 families in Nyaruguru in high-risk zones and we are seeking a way to relocate them. We are urging families in high-risk zones to relocate to safe zones,” she said. During heavy rain, she said, residents in high-risk zones have to get temporary shelters. Meanwhile, she said, to minimise the impact of disasters, residents have to strengthen their houses’ roofs to prevent strong wind impact and build water canals to avoid water penetration in their houses. ALSO READ: Weather forecaster warns of likely flooding to affect roads Tackling sources of flooding and soil erosion Kayitesi said there are ongoing efforts to restore degraded land to curb flooding and soil erosion during heavy rain. Soil erosion leads to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams, and rivers, clogging these waterways and thus worsening flooding. Rwanda loses more than Rwf800 billion annually due to soil erosion according to Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB). The erosion control map shows that of the 30 districts of Rwanda, land under high erosion risk is over one million hectares [45 per cent of the total provinces land which is over two million hectares]. The total land at high risk of erosion in Southern Province is about 311,116 hectares (56 per cent of the total province land). Nyaruguru District has 64,382 hectares (64 per cent of the district land) which is at high risk of erosion while Nyamagabe has 66,578 hectares (61 per cent of district land) which is at high risk of erosion. ALSO READ: 18,000 ha under risk of soil erosion around Sebeya River “Currently we have a project helping us in Nyaruguru District and other projects that are focusing on terraces in both districts. These interventions are in addition to VUP activities and community interventions in combating soil erosion. The efforts to increase surface with terraces and other anti-erosion infrastructure will minimise heavy rain impact,” Kayitesi noted. Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts in Western Province are also at risk of anticipated heavy rain and related disasters. The total land at high risk of erosion in Western Province is about 261,542 hectares (54 per cent of the total province land) where over 37,000 hectares 939 per cent) of Nyamasheke District land is at risk of erosion. Over 18,000 hectares or 20 per cent of Rusizi District land is at risk of soil erosion. Anicet Kibiriga, Mayor of the Rusizi District, told The New Times that the initiative is also focusing on rainwater harvesting to curb flooding. “We have to take measures in terms of an awareness campaign about the role of rainwater harvesting to reduce the intensity of floods and soil erosion. They are rainwater harvesting tanks affordable at different levels. Communities should also avoid dumping waste into rivers and water channels,” he said. Predicted rainfall in other districts In January, rainfall ranging between 150 and 200 millimetres is expected in the remaining parts of Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru, and Huye District, western parts of Gisagara, Nyanza and Ruhango districts and remaining parts of Western Province except eastern parts of Nyabihu, Ngororero and parts of Rubavu where rainfall ranging between 100 and 150 millimetres is expected. The same amount of rainfall is also expected in the remaining parts of Southern Province, parts of Musanze, Burera, Rulindo, Gicumbi, Ngoma, Kayonza and Rwamagana districts. Rainfall ranging between 30 and 50 millimetres is the lowest expected in January in eastern parts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza districts and southern parts of Kirehe District. Kigali City and the remaining parts of Eastern and Northern Province are expected to receive rainfall ranging between 50 and 100 millimetres.