Wednesday, 20 April 2016

37 houses demolished and hundreds of livestock feared dead in Musanze flooding

Locals who were hit by floods together with Red Cross Volunteers and other respondents look for any items that can be saved from the debris of demolished houses /Red Cross team
In a heavy downpour that started in the night of Monday April 18 2016 in Musanze district particularly in the sectors of Gatagara and Busogo, 37 houses have been decimated, 19 earmarked as unsafe for habitation and livestock whose numbers are estimated in hundreds are feared dead.

257 people from 51 households in the areas have been affected by these floods and in need of immediate intervention.

Equally, several hectares of farming fields were washed away in addition to food stores causing serious damaged to the areas food security.

These heavy floods have been reported by Rwanda Red Cross field staff in the area to have hit harder than any recent flooding in the area.

"We have not seen floods this heavy in the recent past in Musanze" Felicite Mukabalisa, the Rwanda Red Cross District branch coordinator for Rwanda Red Cross shared.

The sequence of events that led to the disastrous flooding was preceded by heavy runoff from neighboring mountains which poured into River Bishushwe resulting into heavy overflows that washed neighboring homes.

Estimates of losses in livestock and crops are yet to be established but this is an area popular for rearing small livestock such as goats, sheep, and chicken and many residents have reported deaths of their livestock.

Fortunately, the heavy floods which started in early hours of Monday night at around 9:00pm (21:00hrs) have not cost the area of any lives as experienced Red Cross swimmers together with the national marine force in the area immediately worked to rescue families from the flooded homes.

Also, with the help of volunteers who worked throughout the night of April 18 several homes managed to save some household items.

Currently, the National Society is working to provide Non Food Items (NFIs) from its national strategic stock in Kigali to residents of the area.

At the time of the disaster, district strategic stock as explained by Mukabalisa was in the process of being restocked with NFIs following a recent flooding in the same sector of Busogo hardly two weeks ago in which 41 households were supported with materials from the district's stock.

Immediate needs

The victims' immediate needs as indicated by a needs assessment conduction by the local disaster response team include tents as over 37 were completely decimated and families are big thus can get anywhere else to stay in the short term, food items as many families food stocks were also destroyed by the floods, Non Food Items including sleeping materials and kitchen sets and other household materials.

Media reports that have so far been made show most victims reported to not having any clothes left following the disaster.

Medium term needs

For houses demolished by the flood water, the needs assessment found out that all the families will not be in position to acquire iron-sheets for the reconstruction of their houses hence there is need to support them with roofing materials.

Also, a need for relocating these families has been identified since they had settled in the water path and will thus be constantly at risk of similar disasters if not relocated.

By Rwanda Red Cross Team

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