In September, the Rwanda Meteorology Agency (RMA) warned that some parts of the country could experience heavy rains and floods through end of 2019, urging residents in those areas to take precautionary measures.
In particular, the agency predicted that the northern, western and southern regions would record the highest rainfall over the three-month period.
It called on concerned government institutions, community organisations, farmers and other stakeholders to take appropriate action beforehand.
Two months on and the City of Kigali faces water scarcity and potential rises in water tariffs following last week’s floods in an around the Nyabarongo River upper catchments, according to Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC).
WASAC attributes this to subsquent disruption of activity at Nzove water treatment plant and subsequent reduction in production levels. Yet this is a recurrent problem, raising concerns as to whether institutions take RMA warnings seriously.
On Tuesday, the meteorology agency issued yet another warning: the rains could get even worse. It said some parts of the country could experience rainfall as high as 20mm-60mm on Tuesday night, cautioning residents in areas that are most prone to flooding and landslides to take great care.
Official figures indicate that as many as 70 people died from disasters across the country during the first three quarters of this year, while 177 others sustained injuries during the same period.
Last year was even worse, with disasters claiming the lives of some 234 people and injuring 268 others.
While disasters are natural phenomena and are in most cases unavoidable, it is imperative that we always take precautionary measures to minimise losses. This applies both in the short term and long term.
It’s about time all concerned institutions and citizens took weather warnings seriously and act accordingly.