The New Times (Kigali)

6 May 2013

Rwanda: Kigali-Musanze Road Blocked After Rain Causes Deep Cracks

The Kigali-Musanze road remains blocked following extreme damage caused by rain. Part of the road at Taba cell, Gashenyi sector in Gakenke district, developed huge cracks on Saturday as the soils were weakened, officials said.

Seraphine Mukantabana, the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, who inspected the area on Saturday, said rain had weakened the soil and tore through an 80-metre radius deep.

"It is now impassable due to both the nature of the area and the heavy rain," said Mukantabana, adding that the damaged area had been sealed off to prevent accidents.

"The road is used by many people, however now it is blocked as a precautionary measure. We advise people not to use this road. We are trying to find route pending the repair of the main road," she said.

The minister added that the alternative road will be ready in at least two weeks.

Stop-over arrangement:

Chief Superintendent Francis Gahima, the regional police spokesperson in Northern Province, said Police will ensure safety of passengers who get stuck in the area.

"At the moment, vehicles are not allowed to use this road, drivers are advised to use Base Cyanika -Musanze road for small vehicles while heavy vehicles should pass through Muhanga-Ngororero until the road is rebuilt; we have no other alternative," he said.

Transport agencies from either side are now swapping passengers, who have to walk for at least two kilometres to reach buses.

Chantal Muhawenimana, a passenger who was heading to Ruvabu from Kigali, lamented the burden caused by the road damage.

"The bus we were driving in left us on the other side and we have to walk until we reach other buses, and we don't know even whether buses will be around to take us," said Muhawenimana.

Jean Paul Habimana, who works with Virunga transport agency, said transporters and passengers were affected in equal measure.

"It is really affecting our business. Our buses normally depart after every 30 minutes but now it is not possible because of this damaged road," said Habimana.

"We are supposed to wait for passengers longer because they now have to walk long distances," he added.

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