Close

Forgot your password?

Choose a newsletter




Premium access provided by ENSTA

Your premium access provided by ENSTA

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by NRC Q

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to NRC Q.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by EM-LYON

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to EM-LYON.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Goldsmiths

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Goldsmiths.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Worldcrunch HQ

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Worldcrunch HQ.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MINES Alès Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to MINES Alès Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by ESCP Europe Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to ESCP Europe Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by IONIS Education Group

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to IONIS Education Group.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by SOAS University of London

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to SOAS University of London.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Contact Expats

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Contact Expats.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Financial Review Beyond

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Financial Review Beyond.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MinnPost

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 6 months thanks to MinnPost.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Expatica

You've been given FREE premium access to Worldcrunch

Enter your email to begin

Worldcrunch

Rwandans Risk It All For Their Ancestral Lands

Article illustrative image Partner logo In 2012, torrential rains killed at least 72 Rwandans

RWANDA - Severe weather kills and natural disasters can be particularly deadly in Rwanda, like elsewhere in Africa.

The most deadly storm last year killed at least 72 people and injured more than 120. According to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), in 2012 alone, 3000 homes were destroyed.

Justin Kayira, Director of Disaster Management at the MIDIMAR, says climate change and the complicated geographic context – Rwanda’s mountainous landscape, overpopulation, the way land is used and modern construction methods – make it very difficult to deal with natural disasters.

But beyond these outward factors is a cause that is closer to home to many Rwandans. “Villagers refuse to move away from their ancestral land, and will often build on steep slopes that can collapse during the rainy season,” Kayira explains. “The people living on the Sebaya River for instance, refuse to listen to the authorities who ask them to leave their homes and move to safer ground. They say that their ancestors have always lived there.” 

This is all too familiar to Mrs. T, a 54-year-old woman who lives in Bigogwe, in the Western Province. Her house is less than two meters away from a large ravine. Every day, she has to cross the ravine with her two daughters by balancing on a tree trunk. Those who aren’t acrobatic enough to cross this way have to down the ravine and climb back up on the other side. “When heavy rain fills the ravine, there is no way to cross. The bridges we made were carried away by floods several times,” says Mrs. T, who is afraid of being forced to move far from her fields.

Reducing the risks

In order to reduce human losses and material damages, the Ministry of Local Administration (MINALOC), wants to move 72,000 families. Among them, 2,700 families living in the rice paddies of Bugarama, in the Western Province, who will have to move to a new site – Kibangira. These families have been complaining about the lack of water and basic infrastructures at the new site. According to a MINALOC official, “the priority is escaping the risk areas. The infrastructures will be built progressively.”

Only a small number of Rwandans watch the weather forecast. “Nobody prepares for weather hazards,” says a member of the Rwandan weather service. The role of this service is to warn people about imminent changes in weather patterns, but in effect, the service lacks equipment and can only give limited information.

A local official from Gakenke, in the Northern Province, says “farmers should keep an eye on the weather forecast, to prevent their harvests from being ruined by the rain.” He also says that as the rainy season approaches, villagers should stop planting crops in marshland. But local farmers don’t agree, they believe marshland is the best – and most often only – profitable farming land.

Sign up for our weekly Global Life newsletter now


Be a part of the conversation. Click to show comments
About this article source Website: http://www.syfia-grands-lacs.info/

Syfia International is an association of six independent African press agencies, covering 30 African countries.

Load More Stories

Unlimited access to exclusive journalism, the best world news source across all your devices

Subscribe Now Photo of Worldcrunch on different devices

Your premium access to Worldcrunch is provided by

University of Central Lancashire

Please register to begin


By registering you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.