FEATURED:Residents build houses for 40 families at the end of the Disaster Risk Reduction Week

Hundreds of residents prepare a foundation for the 20 houses in Rwankuba sector. Photo by Joseph Mudingu.

On the 19th/10/2018, residents of Rwankuba sector in Karongi District during Umuganda laid a foundation to construct 20 houses for 40 families who lost their homes due to the landslides caused by the heavy rains that affected over 176 homes.

The activity marked the end of the Disaster Risk Reduction Week in Rwanda that coincided with the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) themed internationally “Reducing Economic Losses from Disasters Has the Power to Transform Lives” and nationally “Mitigating disasters to reduce economic losses”

For Rwanda, the Disaster Risk Reduction Week (DRR Week) aimed at increasing the awareness of the people about the negative impact of disasters on social, economic, and environmental development.

While speaking to journalists during the Umuganda, the mayor of Karongi District, Ndayisaba Francois said that the district is one of the most affected by heavy rains that started in May this year where18 people were killed, 12 hospitalized and 120 houses totally destroyed.

“Many people have lost crops, homes and property because of heavy rains that cause mudslides that submerge houses in which people were sleeping, a tragedy that occurred in many sectors. The worst hit sector Rwankuba is where we are today and affected cells are Bisesero, Rubazo and Gasata. We need to build houses for over 455 people in the whole district. In Rwankuba sector, we have already built homes for 40 families and these 20 houses we have started today will accommodate another 40 families” said Ndayisaba

He thanked residents for the good communal work that they are doing in helping fellow residents who lost homes and property and promised them that with united efforts from the Government, individuals to the public and private institutions, NGOs and other partners, the mitigation measures that have been put in place will restore peace in the affected areas.

Philippe Habishuti responsible for Response and Recovery to people affected by disasters in the former Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees said that the Ministry has during this week, held different activities. It has partnered with the population to tightly fix the roofs and to build new houses for those affected by the rains all over the country.

Bahembayandi Oddeta from Gasata cell in Rwasheke village is one of those many people affected by the rains. “I lost my home and all my property during the heavy rains and until now am still begging for a place to spend nights. Am praying that I also will be among those that will receive homes in the near future for am desperate, poor and helpless” said Bahembayandi

“From January to September 2018, there have been occurrences of disasters that negatively impacted the population and claimed their lives.We have been working with residents in all affected districts to help find homes for those affected by the mudslides and the heavy rains that have spoiled crops and property. Today we have marked the end of theDisaster Risk Reduction Week in Karongi and we are happy to see all these people eager to help fellow affected residents find homes and shelter” said Habinshuti

234 people have been killed by disasters of different types since January to October, 2018. 268 were injured. 15, 264 houses were affected. 9412 ha of different crops have been destroyed and 797 livestock dead among other destroyed things.  The assessment conducted in 15 most affected districts, showed that disaster damages that cost more than 204 billion from January to June, 2018.