Public warned of potential disasters ahead of wet season

Rwandans have been urged to relocate from high risk zones ahead of the heavy rains. File.

The public has been cautioned of potential disasters that could come with the wet season ahead, especially lightning, landslides, floods, storms and hailstorm.

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affair (MIDIMAR) says that, usually, chances of disasters increase during rainy seasons and calls on the public to be vigilant.

During this year’s first wet season, disasters claimed over 200 lives and hundreds injured while houses worth Rwf24 billion were destroyed, an amount higher that a whole district’s budget.

The most prevalent disasters were lighting strikes, floods and landslides.

Forecasts from Rwanda Meteorological Agency (Meteo Rwanda) project normal rains in the country but which is likely to intensify in Northern and Western provinces, as indicated by Mathew Mbati Mugunga, from the agency’s forecast department.

The wet season is expected to start in a few days, towards the beginning of October, according to forecasts.

According to a statement by MIDIMAR, the public should clear water channels and have their roofing tightened as well as catch water to avoid floods.

The ministry also warns of lightning strikes and calls on the public to put in place preventive measures ahead of time, especially by installing lightning rods particularly on public facilities.

As a way of protecting people from disasters, Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) has, since the beginning of this year, relocated over 4,300 households from high risk zones across the country.

“The target is to have more than 7,000 households moved by February 2019, before the April rainfall,” said Augustin Kampayana, the Head of Human Settlement and Planning and Development department at RHA.

Government recommended the installation of lightning rods worth Rwf300 million in public places, especially in Rutsiro District.

Since the beginning of the year, the Government has also provided iron sheets worth over Rwf141 million, basic utensils worth over Rwf200 million, as well as emergency financial support to families affected by the rains earlier this year.

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