Rwanda – 116 Killed in Recent Disasters

Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR) said on 30 April that as many as 116 people have died in disasters since January.

MIDIMAR said that from January to the end of April, heavy rain have affected the whole country, causing floods and landslides. Storms and strong winds have also affected some areas.

Disasters have destroyed 1,201 houses and 33 bridges. Over 4,000 houses have been damaged. Over 4,500 hectares of crops have been destroyed and 705 livestock killed.

At least 18 people died in flooding in Gasabo, Rulindo and Gatsibo districts in late April. In early March hundreds were displaced by flooding in Rubavu District.

To mitigate the disaster effects, the MIDIMAR has supported all those affected. However, Minister of MIDIMAR, Hon. De Bonheur Jeanne d’Arc reminded the population that they also have a part to play.

“In order to avoid more losses of lives, we remind the population to contribute to the effectiveness of the measures related to disaster mitigation efforts.”

The minister also reminded the population to contribute to the implementation of disaster mitigation measures including establishment of proper drainage systems, water canalization and tree planting, relocating from the high risk zone, among others.

Improvements in Disaster Risk Reduction

The fact that government figures on disaster events are available is significant. Steps have been made to monitor and improve disaster risk reduction in the country in recent years.

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) said on Tuesday 01 May that Rwanda has mainstreamed disaster risk reduction (DRR) across all sectors and put in place strong regulations and contingency plans to address all natural and man-made hazards affecting the country.

The country was among the first countries in the world to start using the Sendai Framework Monitor when it was launched in March. This was made possible due to its development of a national disaster loss database, supported by UNISDR under the European Union funded “Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities Programme.” The data will help inform and report on its DRR progress.

“Disaster risk reduction has been integrated within key development sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, environment, education, urbanization, information, communications, technology and youth. We are also promoting coherence and synergy with our national and local frameworks,” said Mr. Alphonse Hishamunda, Director DRR and Preparedness Unit, Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR).

Rwanda has incorporated disaster risk reduction into local development plans in 24 out of 30 districts aimed at preventing the creation of new risk, reducing existing risk and strengthening economic, social, health and environmental resilience.