As Rwanda Meteorology Agency predicts heavy rains that are likely to cause serious hazards, the City of Kigali authorities have said that they are set to urgently relocate more than 11,000 families dwelling in disaster-prone areas.
City authorities disclosed on Monday, March 9, at a news conference that the exercise will cost Rwf80 million, mainly to cater for two months of rent for those relocated.
Pudence Rubingisa, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, said that a city-wide assessment is ongoing to identify vulnerable households and relocate them to safer habitats.
Part of the exercise also targets demolition of “unstable” houses, which according to city authorities are exposed to hazards.
Specifically, they target houses built in wetlands as well as the ones near drainage and water retention places.
The households that will be affected include the ones in parts of Kimisagara Sector, Kangondo 1 and 2 in Nyarutarama as well as Mulindi and Rwampara sectors.
Others include part of Rugando known as Kumyembe and Nyabisindu in Kimironko.
The Minister of Local Government Minister, Anastase Shyaka, said that the move aims to protect the lives of Rwandans and prevent loss of property.
Meanwhile, city authorities say they will complete the construction of 392 houses in Kangondo village by June in order to house some 700 expropriated families.
According to Rwanda Meteorology Agency, the rainy season will run till May this year.
“Consequences that we are facing are likely to persist due to the rainfall,” Aimable Gahigi, the Agency’s Director General.
Kigali and the southwest part bordering Nyungwe forest are the most exposed to the worst hazards.
Effects of the heavy rains have been broad. Post-harvest activities in rural Rwanda were interrupted, causing turbulence in food prices.
In addition, some water infrastructure was damaged, leading water shortages across some parts of Kigali, while construction and transport activities were also hit badly.
More than 60 lives lost in less than three months
Since January this year, more than 60 people were killed by floods and landslides occasioned by heavy rains, according to Marie Solange Kayisire, the Minister of Emergency Management.
Over 90 people were injured while nearly 1000 houses and 700 hectares of field crops were destroyed, the minister said.
More than 5000 evacuated since December
“It has been clear that Meteo Rwanda is giving us very accurate information,” said Rubingisa. “We have been carrying out this evacuation exercise on people residing both in highland and lowland high-risk zones.
According to the Mayor, since December 2019, at least, 5600 families were evacuated.
Apart from residential houses, some economic activities have been relocated from wetlands. They include garages, parking lots, warehouses and factories.
The Mayor says that by the end this month, all economic activity will be relocated from wetlands in order to pave the way for their rehabilitation.