Study reveals districts most vulnerable to climate change

An aerial view of parts of Karongi District. The district is one of the areas in Rwanda which are most vulnerable to climate change. Emmanuel Kwizera.

The districts of Gisagara, Huye and Ruhango in Southern Province, and Karongi District in the Western Province are most vulnerable to climate change, in the country, a new report indicates.

Dubbed “Climate Change Vulnerability report”, the assessment provides an understanding of the relative vulnerability to climate change of the four provinces and the City of Kigali.

The 2018 report was released yesterday.

The climate change vulnerability index uses numbers to assess jurisdictions which have then been categorised as Low, Medium and High vulnerability.

The vulnerability means direct effects such as more storms, floods, hot weathers, lower or higher rainfall with drought effects as well as indirect effects that disrupt economic systems.

Data was collected through a survey of 2,407 households in 122 villages in all districts using 37 indicators.

When compared to all the other districts, the three districts of Kigali have low vulnerability as Gasabo District was identified as having the lowest vulnerability among the 30 districts of the country.

A total of 11 districts fall into the category of low vulnerability and these include three districts in City of Kigali, one district in Southern Province, all five districts of Northern Province and two districts in Eastern Province, the report says.

“Of the 37 indicators  we have assessed, we realised that 52 per cent of them faced improvement in reducing vulnerability to climate change since 2015 while 15 per cent have no change while 33 per cent have no data.,” said  Alphonse Mutabazi, Climate Change Program Manager at Rwanda Environment Management Authority.

Five sectors were cited for special attention in strategic planning, especially health, water, forestry, agriculture and energy sectors.

He urged different institutions, leaders in the districts to examine the report and its recommendations and make commitments to take action and renew their commitments to fight the effects of climate change.

“Actions in most districts to reduce vulnerability should be focused on building the adaptation capacity. The report guides the design of projects that can help the districts to adapt to climate change,” he noted.

He said that climate change takes almost 1 per cent of the national GDP.