Rwanda is not referred to as ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’ for nothing. Nearly the entire country is blanketed by hundreds of thousands of steep hills and rocky mountains.
This topography is one of the main factors that make Rwanda the beautiful country that it is. Indeed, there’re several benefits that come with such a terrain, as opposed to a flat landscape.
Nonetheless, hilly areas can be highly costly at times. Such incidents as last week’s overnight mudslide in Rugero Sector, Nyabihu District, which left a family of 14 dead, as well as several natural disasters in the past, serve as a rude reminder of the threat that Rwanda’s beautiful hills pose.
As a matter of fact, such tragedies would be a common occurrence if it was not for fairly impressive human settlement and pro-environment policies the government has put in place.
In order to avoid further human loss, it is imperative that all stakeholders renew their commitment to the planned settlement programme, as well as tree-planting and land consolidation initiatives.
It is important that communities who live in highly risky areas be advised or facilitated to move to safer terrains as a matter of urgency.
Local leaders and, indeed, ordinary Rwandans will need to play a pivotal role for this campaign to succeed. It calls for a complete mindset change.
This is the time to act. We must not wait for another disaster to strike.