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Rwanda prioritizes relocation of disaster-stricken households, post-floods reconstruction

People gather next to a collapsed building after flooding in Nyabihu district in western Rwanda on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.   -  
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Rachid Bugirinfura/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Last week, heavy rainfall caused significant 137 casualties and injuries in the northern, western, andsouthern provinces of Rwanda.

Since heavy rainfall, battered Rwanda causing landslides and deadly floods on May 2-3, the government initiated an emergency response, including evacuations and temporary relocations to camps for affected residents.

Rwandans also raised over 10 million RWF within 24 hours to support those affected. Urgent relocation of over 19,000 households living in disaster-prone areas has been prioritised. 

The deputy spokesperson for the Rwandan government outlined the nation's plans for post-flood reconstruction. 

"What is left to do is to ensure that where the victims were previously located, in those places that were designated as high-risk zones, they are resettled," Alain Mukurarinda said.

"Resettlement involves screening: we identify who had land ownership prior to the floods, who owned a house, who needs compensation and who doesn't but then after that we relocate them to homes that are not in high-risk zone areas."

Rwanda's mountainous terrain makes it more prone to floods and landslides compared to other countries and has caused disastrous incidences in the past. Residents relocated to resettlement shelters and model villages express how their lives have improved, emphasizing the need for a mindset shift among citizens reluctant to move from high-risk zones to safer locations.

"Even though some were hesitant to move to these homes, it is important to note that on this day, our lives are not at risk anymore," resident Mukangira Maria insists.

"If you look at all the lives that were lost in the floods and the distraction that was caused, We are grateful for the resettlement program we have received from our leaders."

The Government of Rwanda is still in the process of identifying new non –high risk zone areas where they can resettle the displaced families that were affected by the floods and landslides.

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