The New Times (Kigali)

17 December 2011

Rwanda: Musanze Urged to Map Disaster Prone Areas

Members of Musanze District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) should clearly identify zones that are highly prone to disasters.

This was one of the resolutions reached at the end of a two-day workshop of 40 members of the committee, including district and sector officials, as well as representatives from the military, police, Red Cross and religious organisations.

The meeting was called following landslides and floods that hit Muko, and Busogo sectors in Musanze District in the recent past.

According to Jean Baptiste Nsengiyumva, the Director of Research and Public Awareness in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, the workshop was meant to empower participants with skills on disaster mitigation mechanisms.

"This area is prone to landslides and floods from the Virunga Mountains. Local authorities should mobilise residents to plant trees on bare hills, terrace the hills and make sure that water channels are expanded," Nsengiyumva advised.

Last month, 45 houses were destroyed by heavy winds in Muko Sector, while Shingiro, Busogo, and Muko were hit hard by floods emanating from the Virunga Mountains, which killed people and destroyed crops.

One of the participants, Amiel Ndahiro, said that whereas local residents have been involved in expanding trenches and resettling residents in safer areas, there is need for more support to check torrential waters from Virunga Mountains.

The workshop also discussed ways of reducing losses from catastrophes, ensuring timely aid to victims as well as mounting effective recovery measures in case of disasters.

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