Disaster victims : What exactly transpired

*Millions lost   *Hundreds remain homeless  *Schools and hospitals not built The Senate has called for action against senior government officials including Premier Bernard Makuza and five different ministers for their complacency in getting out of despair the victims of floods and earthquake in the districts of Rusizi, Nyabihu, Rubavu and Nyamasheke all in the Western Province. The Ministries accused of collective negligence include that of Internal Affairs, Health, Local Government, State Ministers for Primary and Secondary Education and Social Welfare.
Some of the buildings destroyed  by the 2008 earthquake in Rusizi.
Some of the buildings destroyed by the 2008 earthquake in Rusizi.

*Millions lost   *Hundreds remain homeless  *Schools and hospitals not built

The Senate has called for action against senior government officials including Premier Bernard Makuza and five different ministers for their complacency in getting out of despair the victims of floods and earthquake in the districts of Rusizi, Nyabihu, Rubavu and Nyamasheke all in the Western Province.

The Ministries accused of collective negligence include that of Internal Affairs, Health, Local Government, State Ministers for Primary and Secondary Education and Social Welfare.

The report presented by Senator Valens Munyabagisha indicates that there was gross mismanagement of funds provided to support the victims at that time and prompted the Senate to demand a thorough audit into how the money was used.

After reading the report, we bring you the details of the issues that have sparked anger in the Senate since Friday.

The statistics:

In 2003, Bweyeye Sector of Rusizi district was hit by heavy rains and floods that left 225 houses completely destroyed. Not long after that, in another incident, the banks of River Cyagara broke and destroyed 18 houses in Bugarama area of the same district prompting the authorities to settle all the victims in Kibangira camp.

An earthquake in 2008 left 30 people in the same district dead, 1,177 houses, one secondary school, 118 classrooms and 140 toilets all completely destroyed.

The support, which mainly came in the form of construction materials, was mobilised by the district authorities, the Prime Minister’s Office and a number of donors in a bid to help victims put their lives back together.

The support to help earthquake victims was provided by the government but was combined with that of the district of Nyamasheke and other donors and in the process, there was embezzlement due to the confusion that arose from this.

”There was an issue of support that was provided but could not be accounted for because there is no documentation to support it. The biggest share of support during this period originated from Japan through UNICEF,” the report reads in part.

In Nyamasheke district, the 2008 earthquake destroyed 1,211 houses, killed 9 people and the Bushenge hospital and 5 medical centres were destroyed among other things.

“Muyange hospital  lost three blocks, a patients’ bathroom, two water tanks and a washing room all to the tune of Rfw78m, Mugera hospital lost toilets woth Rfw 6m, Mukoma hospital lost two blocks, toilets and an incinerator all worth Rfw 79m.

Kamonyi hospital lost one block that is worth Rwf 12m and Bushenge hospital lost two blocks worth Rfw 100m,” the report says.

After the earthquake in Rusizi District, a meeting was convened between the Prime Minister’s Office and several Ministries.

At the time, the disaster preparedness unit was coordinated under the Office of Prime Minister before it was transferred to the Ministry of Internal Security under the National Police.

The money collected for these activities, senators found out, was being received by the Ministry of Finance while another account was opened by the Prime Minister’s Office and there was monetary assistance that was provided by donors at the scene of the disasters.

According to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office provided 95 tonnes of maize and 5,280 litres of oil, Nyamasheke district provided Rfw 3 million, and other NGOs provided an assortment of maize, sugar, sweet potatoes, bed-sheets, blankets, water and electricity, clothes, shoes among others.

“The Prime Minister’s Office also provided the 12,845 iron sheets and nails, CSR provided 2,860 iron sheets and nails, Caritas provided 1,440 iron sheets and 600 sacks of cement, World Food Programme provided support for erecting foundations for 225 houses while Red Cross and REMA offered to build 20 and  200 houses respectively,” the report says

Another Rwf36 million was disbursed to provide soil that would be used to lay bricks for those whose houses had been destroyed, to buy wood, windows and doors. The tender was granted to one, Gapira.

”The financial support that was given to support the locals who had been displaced was used in a disorganised manner. For instance, there are incidences where locals signed for 45 iron sheets only for them to get half of that or they ended up building really small houses that lacked a kitchen and toilet,” the report says.

”On the issue of schools, there is no coordinated information to that effect. In fact, every activity was taken over by whoever had won a tender and the districts did not get any sort of reports on the progress.” 

”The process to start building schools has, four years later, failed to begin because the tenders have never been given out. So far, children who go to schools like Rwahi and Gihundwe are at a major risk of being hurt or killed since their schools are on the verge of collapse,”

The district of Rusizi diverted the Rwf 287million set aside for building schools to other activities and no local leader has been held accountable.

Nkombo Secondary School was completely destroyed but efforts to reconstruct it are lagging behind because the company that had won a tender was not paid in time , and people living where the school is supposed to be put up have not be expropriated and the engineer has no plan.

Ends

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