Rwf3b still needed to relocate families from high risk zones

At least Rwf3 billion is needed to construct 18,000 housing units to resettle vulnerable residents living in the disaster high risk zones across the country, a senior government official has said.
Some of the houses located in high risk areas. Floods and landslides are the major disasters.  The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
Some of the houses located in high risk areas. Floods and landslides are the major disasters. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

At least Rwf3 billion is needed to construct 18,000 housing units to resettle vulnerable residents living in the disaster high risk zones across the country, a senior government official has said.

An initiative to help the vulnerable people was rolled out early this year, with a target of completing 30,000 units by September but only 12,000 units have hitherto been constructed, according to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Antoine Ruvebana.

Ruvebana blamed the unfulfilled target on inadequate funding and land scarcity.

A tune of Rwf 6.5 billion had been envisaged to complete the whole exercise. 

The total number of would-be beneficiaries had initially been estimated at 43,000 households. However, 13,000 were identified as capable of constructing houses for themselves.

Ruvebana was speaking yesterday during the official launch of Disaster Reduction Week, during which different activities including awareness campaigns and helping the vulnerable will be conducted across the country.

The week was launched at Rusheshe Cell in Masaka Sector, Kicukiro District where some of the units are being constructed. At the site, employees of the ministry offered to construct one house.

“We missed out on the target we had set because of different challenges including financial constraints and lack of plots of land; we have to extend the deadline, we will continue working gradually on the project,” Ruvebana said in an interview.

He added that government will have to intervene and inject in more money to supplement on the contribution of members of public through community work.

He, however, could not give the new time frame for the completion of the initiative adding they would continue engaging the public through community work, to ensure the houses are completed, and all those people in disaster-prone areas relocated.

Joselyn Rwaburindi, the in charge of social affairs at Masaka Sector, observed that they had completed only four units.

She noted that would-be beneficiaries are identified from different disaster prone parts of the district.

At-risk districts

A survey conducted last year by the ministry indicated that floods and landslides were the major disasters in the country and have greatly impacted negatively on human development, property, infrastructure and environment.

It was also found out during the survey that the north-western part of the country, especially in the districts of Burera, Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu were the most prone to disasters due to steep slopes, soil instability, heavy rains, poor drainage systems, among others.

Since December, last year Rwanda has experienced deadly rains which have claimed lives and destroyed houses.

Last year, 75 people died from disasters that struck risky zone areas. This year alone more than 58 people have died, which has prompted the government to move faster in resettling the high-risk zone dwellers.

In May, this year, government established a Disaster Steering Technical Committee (DSTC) which was tasked with coordinating responses to disasters with already the existing National Disaster Steering Committee (NDSC).

NDSC is made up of the ministries of  Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (chair), Defence (vice chair), Local Government, Internal Security, Health, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Infrastructure; as well as Rwanda Defence Forces, and the Rwanda National Police.

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