Rwamagana farmers call for help as heavy downpour ruins crops

A heavy downpour in Rwamagana District on Wednesday destroyed close to 10 hectares of banana plantation and several houses, leaving several residents homeless.

A heavy downpour in Rwamagana District on Wednesday destroyed close to 10 hectares of banana plantation and several houses, leaving several residents homeless.

Some of the destroyed houses, according to local leaders, include those that had been constructed for vulnerable residents. Rubona and Munyaga sectors were the worst affected.

Jean Pierre Uwiragiye, one of the affected residents, said they were in urgent need of help.

“The storm destroyed most of the houses in the village. We need help as some of us are too poor to rehabilitate our houses,” he said.

Emmanuel Habumugisha, a cell leader, said residents whose houses were destroyed had found shelter at friends or relatives. He said similar destruction (in the area) happened last year.

“Most of those affected are housed by their friends. We are, however, planning for special community work (Umuganda) to build houses for the most vulnerable among them,” he said.

Nehemie Uwimana, the district mayor, said the houses collapsed largely because of  poor construction. 

“There are people who have refused to adhere to construction standards. As a result the roofs of their houses are easily ripped off and they expect to get free ones later,” he said.

“In such situations, some people try to gain sympathy they don’t deserve. Some of the affected families have the capacity to rehabilitate their houses, let them do it…we are busy re-housing ‘Tanzania evictees’,” he categorically said.

Meanwhile, area markets in the district were flooded with bananas sold at give away prices, after a heavy wind flattened several plantations.

“It is a blessing in disguise. The price of bananas drastically fell from Rwf5000 to Rwf2000 since Monday. But this is temporary as prices may shoot extremely high in the near future,” said Bienvene Kayibanda, a resident.

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