22 May 2018

Rwanda: Floods Displace Hundreds in Burera, Musanze, Damage Genocide Memorial

Floods destroyed over 190 houses in Burera and Musanze and also damaged Rugarama Genocide memorial.

The rains which started at around 4am on Sunday triggered floods from various streams originating from Muhabura Volcano, with Rugarama, Gahunga, Cyuve and Gacaca Sectors the most hit.

At least 197 families were left homeless in Burera while 191 hectares of crops were damaged in the area, according to a preliminary report shown to The New Times by Florence Uwambajemariya, Burera District Mayor.

"We have registered 177 hectares of crops damaged in Gahunga and 14 hectares in Rugarama. The families that were left homeless are temporarily staying with their neighbours as they wait for relief items from the Ministry of Disaster Management," she said.

Her report also indicated that 6 kilometres of feeder roads connecting the sectors of Rugarama and Gahunga with other parts were cut off and Rugarama Health Centre and Rugarama Sector headquarters were respectively destroyed by the floods.

Meanwhile, the same incident affected Musanze District, by the press time district officials were still drafting a report of damaged property.

"Water from the volcanos entered residents' houses, damaged their crops, we have so far registered over 30 hectares of beans swept away. What is strange is that the water is even still flowing at a high speed to the extent nobody knows what will follow," Musanze Mayor, Jean Damascene Habyarimana, told The New Times. However, no casualties were recorded in both district officials.

Those who were affected described the rains as heavy, windy and destructive saying it was for God's mercy that it claimed no lives.

"All my belongings were washed away together with my house so I am left with nothing. I have no kitchen utensils, no bed sheets, no mattress...nothing. I just have these clothes you see me wearing," said Alexis Kubwimana from Gahunga Sector, Burera District.

Lasting solution

Philippe Habinshuti, the Director of Disaster Response and Recovery at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDMAR), said the ministry would provide basic materials as direct response as plans to support the affected families in the longer term are being made.

"We are dealing with finding the real figures of affected residents for us to avail our support as soon as possible. We will offer tents, blankets, hygiene kits and kitchenware which they will be using," he assured.

In a recent interview, Environment minister Dr. Vincent Biruta gave The New Times, he said that plans to control the frequent floods which affect the volcano area were underway.

"A pre-feasibility study for floods control in the area was completed and the main outcomes from the study were an estimation of peak runoff to be used while re-designing some bridges as well as the appropriate types of measures to be applied for flood control," he said.

"A tender for a study which will come out with detailed measures to manage floods in the entire volcano area and their costing was advertised".

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