Rwanda: Weatherman Warns of Five-Day Heavy Rains

Rwanda Meteorology Agency has announced "very heavy rains" that will be experienced between May 8 and 12.

The warning was issued after thorough analysis was done by the Weatherman that showed that scattered widespread rainfall being experienced over several parts of the country is expected to continue in the next coming four to five days.

"It is likely to intensify to more than millimetres in 24 hours over Southern, Western and Northern provinces, from 8th to 12th May 2021," the forecast said.

The expected impacts, the analysis says, include severe widespread flooding to major rivers and catchments, damage to infrastructure, landslides, loss of livestock and risk of loss of human lives.

It adds that poor visibility causing incidence of accidents, danger to life due to fast-flowing and deep water is also expected.

"Due to accumulated rainfall in the past two days in most parts of the country and expected rains in four coming days, contingency measures should be put in place to avoid likelihoods of negative impacts associated with increased rainfall especially in disaster-prone areas," reads the announcement signed, on May 8, by Aimable Gahigi, Director General of Meteo Rwanda.

In the forecast that had been issued at the end of April, the Meteo agency said that the rains expected within the first ten days of May would be slightly above normal compared to the same period in the past years.

The call for contingency measures to avoid likelihoods of negative impacts associated with increased rainfall especially in disaster-prone areas comes as many households are still stranded in high risk zones while others have been displaced by disasters.

Philippe Habinshuti, the Director for the Response and Recovery Unit at the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA), told The New Times in March this year that there is a plan to build decent houses for 14,051 households displaced by disasters

According to official data by this ministry, at least 8,013 houses, 95 classrooms, four health centres, 151 roads, 102 bridges, 22 churches, 26 water supply systems, 96 electricity transmission lines, 16 administrative offices, six markets and one factory were damaged while 3,491 livestock died owing to disasters last year.

The data shows that 5,968.653 hectares of crops and 458 hectares of forests were damaged by disasters while 290 people lost their lives as 398 were injured in 2020.

In 2019, the report shows, at least 271 disasters destroyed 5,687 houses while 10,610.45 hectares of crops were damaged.

Disasters also damaged 203 classrooms, 30 roads and 50 churches, 40 bridges and 21 administrative offices, six water supply systems and 72 transmission lines, four markets and two factories while 2,979 livestock died in the same year.

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