Premier condoles with disaster victims, reassures govt support

PM Ngirente addresses mourners in Rwankuba Sector, Karongi District, yesterday. Courtesy.

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has said the Government will continue to extend immediate and long-term support to families devastated by disasters across the country.

The disasters are linked to the heavy rains witnessed in different parts of the country in the recent past.

Ngirente made the commitment yesterday from Rwankuba Sector of Karongi District where he condoled with families of the 18 people who lost their lives in a mudslide over the weekend.

The premier, who attended the burial of 15 of the victims, said it’s the obligation of his government to support those affected, adding that the catastrophe that has devastated Rwankuba will receive special attention.

The other three victims were laid to rest on Monday.

Ngirente said that Rwanda and the rest of the region have experienced more than initially expected rains from January up to now, which has led to loss of life and destruction of billions worth of properties.

According to figures from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, over 200 people have lost their lives from rain induced disasters since January across the country.

Thousands of hectares of farmlands have also been washed away, houses destroyed, while domestic animals have been killed in their hundreds.

The Government, the premier assured the citizens and other residents in the country, is committed to ensuring that people do not live in fear or uncertainty owing to disasters, adding that authorities will evacuate those that are highly prone to natural disasters.

“We do not want any Rwandan to live in a house where they will have sleepless nights fearing for their lives,” said the premier, who was accompanied by other senior government officials, including ministers, as well as local government and security officials.

He said that government was going to intensify the campaign to identify all households in areas that expose them to such disasters and make sure they are relocated to safer places.

He commended residents who took initiative to take in affected neighbours and said the Government will immediately provide emergency assistance to such families.

Survivor speaks out

Seraphine Mukamana, 16, says she had pain in the arms and thighs as a result of heaps of mud that slid from a hill near her family’s home in Rwankuba Sector and swept away their house.

“My parents and I were suddenly covered in the mud,” she recalled.

Her parents also survived but her elder sister and her (sister’s) child were among the 15 victims who were laid to rest on Tuesday.

Covered in mud, was swept away and hit the door of their now demolished house on which she clung until she was rescued.

“I cried out for help for several hours before I was heard and that is how I was extracted from the debris,” she said.

She was immediately rushed to Bigugu Health Centre in Rwankuba Sector, where she received emergency treatment.

“I feel a little better now,” she told The New Times in a hoarse voice as a result of long periods of wailing.  

Both her parents sustained major injuries and are admitted to Karongi District Hospital.


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