KIGALI - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has announced that the recent earthquakes that hit parts of the Western Province left enormous damages currently estimated at Frw5 billion. Makuza made the remarks during a press briefing yesterday at his offices in Kimihurura. He said that the government had dispatched a team of technicians to ascertain the value of the damages, and to advise residents on which type of houses they should build for accommodation. The two earthquakes on February 3 particularly hit the districts of Nyamasheke and Rusizi, killing almost forty people and injuring hundreds others.
“What is needed is to make evaluation on which houses need rebuilding and those that deserve renovation. That is why the experts were sent there. But we are estimating the losses to be at Frw5 billion,” the premier said in a rare press conference.
However, he said that apart from tents worth Frw40 million that were distributed to the victims, the financial value of relief aid so far given out can not be easily ascertained.
Makuza said that the government will contribute building materials like iron sheets and cement to reconstruct several damaged houses, but added that labour would be provided by the residents themselves.
He called on Rwandans to grow more crops, adding that although the tremors had led to damages, they did no affect the amount of foodstuff in different homes.
The prime minister further said that his office in collaboration with different ministries was working round the clock to ensure that there are efficient early warning systems in place.
The government’s disaster preparedness unit is under the premier’s office. “There is an efficient national coordination strategy on disaster preparedness at both ministry and district levels. This enabled us to respond quickly to the earthquake catastrophe,” he said.
He said that a public bank account was opened several months ago so that whoever wishes to render financial support to disaster victims can easily do so. The account number is 1201293 and was opened in the National Bank of Rwanda.