KIGALI - The Government of Japan and UNICEF yesterday signed a US$ 7.5m (Approx Rwf4.1bn) agreement to rebuild the earthquake affected western province of Rwanda.
Rwanda was hit by a series of earthquakes in February last year that killed 37 people and injured 646 others while property worth billions was destroyed.
A joint government-UN assessment at the time found that 45 schools were affected, depriving 27,000 students of the chance to continue with their education.
“This funding is a gesture of goodwill from the people of Japan to the people of Rwanda. I sincerely wish that the communities can recover rapidly from the impact of this natural disaster and that services such as education and health are quickly established in order to let children continue to learn and eventually accomplish their individual dreams,” said Shigeo Iwatani, the Japanese Ambassador.
The grant will be disbursed through UNICEF which is expected to distribute it to the affected areas.
The funds will be used to reconstruct 15 of the most heavily damaged schools and three health centres in Rusizi and Nyamasheke Districts and maintaining and managing newly-built facilities, latrines and water points.
It will also facilitate empowerment of communities in the two districts to undertake their own development projects, including responding to the needs of affected women, children and the youth.
“The United Nations is committed to supporting the government of Rwanda in rebuilding the communities in these districts affected by the earthquake,” said Dr. Joseph Foumbi, UNICEF’s Country Representative.
Foumbi who was speaking on behalf of Ann M Veneman, the Executive Director of UNICEF added; “this project will not just rebuild these schools and health centres, it will also improve them to ensure that they are earthquake resistant and meet the quality standard for child-friendly environments that have become the norm in Rwanda today.”
Attending yesterday’s signing ceremony were high ranking officials from the Ministries of Health, Education and Internal Security, as well as representatives from the two affected districts.
The earthquake, which was felt in most parts of the country, hit most the Western Province especially the districts of Nyamasheke and Rusizi in the former Cyangugu Prefecture and Nyabihu in the former Gisenyi.