RDF leads operation to clear Nyabugogo floods

Over 100 Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) troops, yesterday, led a massive operation to clear the Nyabugogo area of flood waters that had paralysed businesses since Friday. The soldiers in collaboration with Nyarugenge district officials and area residents built dykes and cleared blocked water channels.
RDF soldiers take part in an exercise to drain flood waters  in Nyabugogo  yesterday. The New Times, John Mbanda.
RDF soldiers take part in an exercise to drain flood waters in Nyabugogo yesterday. The New Times, John Mbanda.

Over 100 Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) troops, yesterday, led a massive operation to clear the Nyabugogo area of flood waters that had paralysed businesses since Friday.

The soldiers in collaboration with Nyarugenge district officials and area residents built dykes and cleared blocked water channels.

“The road had been rendered unusable. We built dykes using sandbags, clearing blocked waterways and bridges and pumped water from the road,” Army and Defence Spokesperson, Col. Joseph Nzabamwita, told The New Times.

“We call upon the local population to be mindful of protecting the environment while engaging in economic activities, which is a long term solution to the f flooding.”

By noon, Sunday, when The New Times left the scene, the army, city officials and some top police officers, were still calling in heavy machinery to unblock the main channel.

“What the army is doing is really good. They are going to help remove the undergrowth [water vegetation and the water hyacinth] from the trench in the swamp so that the water can flow. The bags (sand) they have put over there are preventing the water from coming back to the road,” Silvestre Gahamanyi, a security guard who assisted in clearing the waterway told The New Times.

The vice-mayor in charge of economic affairs in Nyarugenge District, Felecien Kagisha, said he was relived as the floods had threatened to surge into nearby buildings.  

 “We are still working and it looks promising. We shall also do further work down at the other end of the bridge to unclog it,” Kagisha said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, visited the area and called for immediate intervention.

The army is also working on Muhazi dam, in the eastern part of the country, which flooded affecting the surrounding communities.

Rice farmers in Nyagatare District were, last week, devastated after heavy downpour destroyed 65 hectares of rice fields at Cyabayaga rice scheme.

james.karuhanga@newtimes.co.rw

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