Cries of joy as 200 get houses

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By Daniel Sabiiti

For the past eight years, Béatrice Mukanoheri gave birth to eight children spending sleepless nights with no idea when the floods, landslides and heavy winds will strike them inside their shaky house on the hills of Nyabihu district.

This 2016 Christmas Mukanoheri and her family had a good night sleep with her family.  “I spent all these sleepless years praying for mercy of God during each of the rainy seasons. Whenever floods hit our house, we would only be rescued by police and the army. With the new home I can now slept well this Christmas” Mukanoheri said while receiving keys to her new home.

The minister of Natural resources, Dr. Vincent Biruta, this December 23, inaugurated the 200 homes built for residents who were evacuated from high risk zones in the districts of Nyabihu and Musanze.

The 200 permanent houses located in a Green Village, Kabyaza cell in Mukamira sector, were built by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the ‘Adaption Fund’, at a cost of over Rwf1.6billion and the project was monitored by a local climate change organization- RV3CBA.

Rwanda has embarked on shifting communities from high risk zones through the Integrated Development Programme (IDP model village) which was initiated in 2010 to promote proper human settlement in rural areas.

Under this model, the residents also access services such as roads, four in one houses that maximise land with durable construction materials, water, electricity, market, school, cowsheds and playground

Statistics indicate that hundreds have lost their lives and proper worthy millions destroyed in the process.

In 2014, an estimated 48,000 people lived in high risk zones and many of them have been relocated with less than 8,000 remaining by 2016.

Government says that all thirty districts of the country will have an urban community settlement, commonly known as ‘model village,’ by the end of the next financial year.

So far such programs have kicked off in Rweru model village in Bugesera District that accommodates residents relocated from Mazane and Shalita islands will be replicated across the country.

Some high-risk areas such as:- Ngororero, Gasabo, Muhanga, Gakenke, Karongi, Muhanga,  Nyamagabe , Gicumbi, Nyamasheke, Nyaruguru, Rusizi and Rutsiro among districts prone to disasters; according to the 2015 National Risk Atlas of Rwanda.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Biruta says that by 2020 Rwanda plans to have 70 percent of the population living in planned rural model village settlements and 35 percent of these in urban settlements.

“All residents should take up this opportunity to reduce the risks of losing lives unnecessarily. The village model program provides all opportunities that can enable one to contribute to the economy unlike living in isolation” Biruta said

To date, about 4,000 to 5,000 people still live in high-risk areas in the entire country and the line implementing authorities in disaster management programs say that biggest challenge is the mindset of the people who still resist, saying they must first be compensated.

The risk atlas reveals that about 2.8 million Rwandans are exposed to windstorms at an intensity of moderate to strong gales and that 148 health facilities and 882 schools are exposed to windstorms.

 

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