The Rwanda Meteorological Service Coordinator has warned the public that possible heavy rains could affect some parts of the country particularly those usually prone to floods during the rainy season that began this month.
In an interview with The New Times, John Ntaganda Semafara said that based on an analysis done for this season (September—December), some parts of the west, north-west and south-west of the country are likely to get above 700 millimetres of rainfall.
According to him, normal rainfall is between 300 and 700 millimetres. Some of the districts that he said were likely to be affected include Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Karongi and Rutsiro all in the Western Province; as well as Musanze in the Northern Province and Nyamagabe in the South.
Early this year, some parts of the country, mainly in the Western Province were affected by heavy floods which, apart from killing people, destroyed farmland and household property.
Ntaganda noted that the western region is vulnerable because of its topography. “The nature of this area makes it vulnerable to dangers such as landslides. We advise residents to take the appropriate precautions with the help of local leaders - way in advance before the heavy rains,” he noted.
“It is difficult to get a focus on what will happen exactly, it’s tricky”, he added noting that they will be updating their weather forecasts day by day.
Apart from the climate change effects that may affect the forecasts, Ntaganda also noted that the prevailing ‘La Nina Phenomenon’, that is affecting the central and eastern part of Equatorial Pacific Ocean, might also influence the situation.
The Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, told The New Times that they are working with the district-based Disaster Management Committees to sensitize residents in taking preventive measures.
“Residents have to take the lead in preventing such disasters before they occur. Protection of slopes, forestation, proper channelling of water from their house; should all be prioritized,” said Gatsinzi.
He also cautioned residents against residing in dangerous areas like marshlands and valleys.