THE GOVERNMENT has launched a four-year project aimed at countering effects of climate change in disaster-prone areas in the north-western parts of the country.
The project dubbed ‘Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in North Western Rwanda through Community Based Adaptation (RV3CBA) was launched on Monday.
It will cost around $10million (about Rwf7 billion) funded by Adaptation Fund, an international funder.
The project is expected to benefit over 38,200 households from seven sectors of Nyabihu and Busogo Sector in Musanze District which are prone to disasters.
The areas are usually affected by flooding during the rainy season, according to the officials.
Residents and officials participated in the construction of dam detention dams on the hilly terrain of Nyirakigugu cell, Jenda Sector to control flood waters from the mountains.
Speaking at the launch in Nyabihu District, the Minister for Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, affirmed government commitment to protect people from the vagaries of nature.
“The project is to help Nyabihu and Musanze residents cope with climate change. It will focus on soil management, tree planting, erosion control and relocating vulnerable people living in high risk zones,” he said.
Over 200 vulnerable people from high risk zones will be relocated from two sites of Jomba and Mukamira sectors to a pilot green village with cowsheds, biogas and rainwater harvesting systems, according to Kamanzi.
He also said over 2,000 hectares of trees will be planted in the area and urged residents to own the activities in an effort to deal with effects of climate change through agro-forestry.
“We wish to see changes in the coming four years, we do not want to see bear ground that will facilitate erosion,” he said.
Other activities to benefit from the funding, according to the minister, are capacity building among residents and post-harvest handling and storage systems to avoid post harvest losses attributed to flooding.
The project will also help some farmers to move from farming to off farm activities while creating more jobs through various activities, according to Kamanzi.
Residents welcomed the project, saying it will help reduce disasters which have in the past devastated the area.
“This is a good opportunity for us because disasters had ravaged our area in the recent past leading to loss of life and property. This project comes as a response as it will help us know how to cope with climate change. We are also committed to following the advice from our local leaders to make sure disasters are minimised,” said Emmanuel Hitiyakare, a resident in Jomba Sector.
Information from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees indicates that at least 112 people died, 124 injured while 3,934 houses were either damaged or demolished and 2,201 hectares of land destroyed as a result of disasters the previous year.
Officials, however, said figures are likely to go down this year thanks to climate adaptation efforts.
On the same day meanwhile, the minister launched the land week in the Northern Province with a call on residents to learn their land lights and make good use of their land to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.