Govt devises sustainable solutions for flood prone areas

Officials say that planting trees along the rivers, applying anti-erosion approaches and canalizing water in farms are some of interventions to control flooding.
A man being carried through a flood in Nyabugogo. The area is known for flooding after heavy rains. / File

Following several studies, areas that are most vulnerable to flooding across the country are on course to get sustainable mitigating solutions; the Minister in charge of Emergency Management and Refugee Affairs; Germaine Kamayirese, has said.

Kamayirese was commenting on the climate outlook for the March to May 2019 season which indicates that there could be increased risks due to high rainfall in most parts of Western and Northern provinces, City of Kigali and Southern province’s Ruhango, Kamonyi, Muhanga and Nyamagabe districts.

“We have been experiencing severe flooding in Musanze district caused by water and debris from the volcanoes. This washes away soil, crops, and people’s property and blocks the roads as well. We have conducted studies on how best to control the flooding,” she said.

She noted that there are some activities that are being conducted such as planting bamboos along the river banks and expanding the water channels and bridges along the roads in areas like Burera District.

Last year, the Ministry spent at least Rwf6bn to help ten districts among them Ngororero, Karongi and Nyabihu recover from disaster effects.

The Minister said that in Kigali City, measures have been taken to contain flooding that affects Nyabugogo area saying that people need to restore and build new water canals and establish rainwater harvesting systems among others.

“The flooding in Nyabugogo is caused by run-off water from surrounding hills and homes but most of the houses have no way of rainwater harvesting. We need to build many new water drainages. By the middle of this year, there is a project to construct a dam that will be retaining water from surrounding hills as a way of regulating its flow,” she said.

“We are at a stage that requires building people’s capacity to become resilient to disasters. There is need for rehabilitating bridges damaged by flooding while also avoiding to dump waste into water drainages that could impede smooth running of water,” she said.

The acting City of Kigali chief Engineer; Jean d’Amour Rwunguko says that the city constructs at least three water drainages every year to control flooding while others are constructed by the three districts of Kigali city.

Each district constructs at least two water drainages while others are constructed during roads construction.

“Building a water drainage is very expensive as it requires the city to spend at least Rwf1.5 billion every year. We are however optimistic that in the next five years, we will have more drainages,” he said.

Officials say that planting trees along the rivers, applying anti-erosion approaches and canalizing water in farms are some of interventions to control flooding.

For instance, to strengthen the efforts of containing flooding caused by run-off water from surrounding hills, 5.5 hectares of classic forests, 989.5 hectares of agroforestry trees and 50,820 fruits trees have to be planted by April 2019 while forest rehabilitation on Mount Kigali, Mount Jali and Mount Rebero is collectively being carried out on 3, 34.4 hectares.