Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Rwanda Red Cross distributes relief items to 499 households in Gakenke

Over 211 houses have completely been demolished by
floods and mudslidesin just one sector of Gakenke district
Following a series of heavy rains that led to the loss of over 54 lives and destroyed more than 269 houses in Gakenke district, has this Tuesday in partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs distributed Nonfood items (NFIs) to 499 households hit by the disaster in Gakenke district.

The support offered to each of the households whose lives were harshly impacted by floods and mudslides included a tent for temporary shelter, two jerry cans, two blankets, two sleeping mats, a kitchen set, and soap, kitenge for women and clothes for children to help them in the short term.

69 year old Niyonsanga Emmanuel a widower with five children is among the beneficiaries of this distribution of NFIs which came in to support the most vulnerable people who have been left with nothing as a result of the floods and mudslides that hit Gakenke district.

Niyonsanga Emmanuel after receiving NFI support from Rwanda Red Cross

“My whole house was washed away by the mudslides down the hill. Now without a place to call home, we will erect this tent that I have been given and sleep there while more solutions for the long term are sought. I am really grateful to the government and the Red Cross for being close to us from the very beginning of this disaster, I am really happy for the support given.”

Rwanda Red Cross volunteers have also been instrumental in rescue operations since the beginning of the catastrophe in the morning of 8th May 2016 from around 2:00 am in the morning.

Among other activities, volunteers supported the rescue of people who were stuck in house debris, trained swimmers in the local disaster response teams of the district helped rescue especially children and women who were drowning in the flood waters in addition to offering psychosocial support to families that lost loved ones to the disaster during burial ceremonies on Monday May 9th.

Gakenke sector which has so far recorded 211 houses that have completely been destroyed in addition to over 221 which were partially demolished and on the verge of total destruction was the most affected by these disasters in the district and victims from this sector have been lead targets for the Rwanda Red Cross support aimed at helping the most vulnerable.

The Executive Secretary of the sector Bisengimana Janvier noted that the NFI support given has been greatly needed by his residents.

“These (NFIs) are immediate needs which will help victims of these disasters to cope with what they are going through. We thank the Red Cross, government and all other partners for the immediate support, I recall that throughout the night of Saturday when the disaster begun, we were with Red Cross volunteers helping in the rescue operation.”

In a rapid assessment that the Rwanda Red Cross team on field is conducting, it has been noticed that there is great need for food since several food stores and plantations were washed away by mudslides, need for shelter in the short term and relocation of families from high risk zones in the medium term.

Also, 80 households that were greatly affected by similar disaster in Muhanga District in Rwanda’s Southern Province have also today  been given similar support by the Rwanda Red Cross in partnership with MIDMAR to help those most affected to cope with the challenges that have arose from the floods and mudslides that his the area.
499 households most affected have received support of nonfood items to help them cope with the challenges faced

Monday, 9 May 2016

Heavy rains devastate northern, southern and western parts of Rwanda

A car stuck in the mudslide is being
pulled out by volunteers and locals
At least 54 people have been killed by heavy rains that flooded Northern, Southern, and Western Province districts of Gakenye, Muhanga, and Rubavu and Ngororero respectively.

Many more are nursing injuries in various hospitals and health centres in the hit districts.
The heavy rains recorded over the weekend decimated over 419 houses in Gakenye and 80 in Muhanga leaving thousands homeless. This is in addition to the devastation to people’s crops where over 3850 ha of bean fields and about 600 ha of rice and sugarcane plantations on the banks of River Nyabarongo have reportedly been washed away by floods and landslides.

This region was hit by heavy rains that resulted into flooding and mudslides leading to heavy losses of lives, destruction of homes and decimation of farming fields.

Among others, this has exacerbated fear for tough times ahead for most of the devastated families.

In Gakenye where the downpour had the most devastating impact, rain is reported to have started in the midnight of Saturday and devastated six sectors of the district, mostly Gakenke sector where 16 died that night and Nemba where 9 lives were immediately lost.
Most people were killed by houses that collapsed while others were killed by floodwaters.
Currently, Rwanda Red Cross volunteers in the area have joined government and other local organisations in offering first aid to the wounded and trying to rescue those who are still stuck in the rubble of what were formerly homes.
The heavy downpour that devastated these regions for over 30 hours also interrupted traffic flow from the city of Kigali which has challenged transportation of relief items to the areas. However, the Rwanda Red Cross teams will be providing relief support including 998 sleeping mats, 998 blankets, 499 kitchen sets, 2495 pieces of soap, 998 jerry cans, 499 tents and clothes for children and women who are the most vulnerable in the situation.
According to weather forecasts, more rains are expected in this region the whole of today and the Rwanda Red Cross will surely require more support and involvement of all parties so as to be there for everyone everywhere and on time.
thousands of people who cross River Nyabarongo to and from Kigali City each day are unable to carry obn their daily activities now that the river has flooded the road

By Matthew Rwahigi

Correction: earlier version mentioned 91 instead of 54 people reported dead