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Rwanda: Children suffered the most as disasters hit families

Marie Anne Dushimimana

Natural disasters include floods and thunderstorms that hit different parts of Rwanda since the beginning of 2022 have left homeless thousands of people, including children

According to the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management, 15 people have died of natural disasters since the beginning of 2022, wounded 37, destroyed 130 houses and 132 hectares of crops.

That means that one person died at least in two days and more than one person got injured.

Rubavu-Rugerero Floods

Janviere Nishimwe from Rubavu District in Rugerero Sector said they did everything which was in their ability to prevent disasters all in vain.

“Books, clothes, shoes, uniforms, and other basic materials for children have been washed away by the heavy rains, and the rest was also destroyed. commodities we used to have in our stocks also disappeared,” she said.

“The crops in farms and the soil were destroyed altogether. Our children will no longer be able to go to school again,” she said.

Nishimwe said they need urgent support to get the basic home materials, school materials so that children can go to school, without waiting for the whole recovery process.

“We tied our roofs as we were advised by the leadership but water from Mountain Rubavu surprised and entered our houses even in our bedrooms. everything is destroyed now. We have nothing and we need urgent help from the government especially for our children,” she added.

Aline Uwanyirigira from the same sector said nothing remains from her former home, she didn’t even get a shelter.

“For me, nothing was recovered from the floods. We fled with kids and when the rain stopped and came back home, everything was gone. It is the third day, we didn’t find a shelter,” she laments.

“Most of us are worried about our children, the immediate help should be provided to ensure they survive the horrific situation. The rest of us will recover with time,” she said.

Save-Gisagara floods

Disasters in the Save Sector in Gisagara District killed a pregnant woman and her husband was hospitalized after being hit by the thunderstorm while more than 100 houses have been completely destroyed according to the district officials.

Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana, a resident from Save describes the scene when the heavy rain with thunderstorms destroyed everything including their homes.

“I was in my house together with two children and it started to rain while the other two were at school. After the roof was removed, all the doors were broken and we ran to find a shelter. My children were obliged to be absent from school while we were still searching where to sleep,” he said.

Theophile Ndayisenga 62, said the rain that hit this area recently was not normal.  It destroyed everything on its way including banana plantations, forests, cassava, and houses among others, she said.

“You can see yourself, even the remaining houses are very damaged, we can’t safely live in them. We are glad the top leaders reached on to us, now our hope of recovery is restored,” he said.

Leandre Karekezi the Mayor of Gisagara said the most urgent was to find shelter for them, give basic needs to those who still have houses, and host families.

“With the collaboration of the Rwanda Red Cross, we gave the affected families basic needs and we will continue to help them in the days to come, including constructing and repairing their houses,” he said.

“2800 families will need food support because their crops were completely destroyed. We thank the President of Rwanda and Senate President for coming for support when our people need it the most,” he said.

President Paul Kagame donated 10 million Rwandan Francs to help the disaster victims in Save sector, Gisagara district gets at least basic needs, including sanitary and hygiene materials.

The Ministry urged people to respect the instructions given to reduce disasters’ effects like retaining rainwater and to strengthen their houses’ roofs among others.

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