Changing weather patterns and El Nino are expected to trigger heavy rains in the country in the coming weeks, weatherman has warned.
According to Rwanda Meteorological Agency (Meteo Rwanda), the country is expected to experience heavy rains beginning this month until the end of May.
According to the weatherman, the country is not expected to have a normal sunny period in the months of February and March.
Contrary to its normal average precipitation of 1,200 millimetres per annum, some parts of Rwanda are forecast to have an average precipitation of over 500 millimetres between February and March.
“Currently, we have the tropical convergence, slight El Niño, which could intensify and the fact that we are close to the equator, the region that normally has precipitation in this season, as the main reasons for this phenomenon,” Mathieu Mbati, senior forecaster at Meteo Rwanda told Rwanda Today.
“We are going to have a rainy period that could temporally stop in a short period of five days to a week, then continues raining until the end of the season in May,” he added.
Rwanda has a short sunny period in February and May, however Mr Mbati said it will not be normal under the situation that reoccurs in every five to six years.
According to the online sources, El Niño is a part of a routine climate pattern that occurs when sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean rise to above normal levels for an extended period of time.
According to the National Climate Outlook for January to March season, the Northwestern and some parts of the country are predicted to have above average rainfall.
Regions of Nyagatare, Gastibo and big parts of Kayonza districts are predicted to have the below average rainfall ranging between 200 millimetres and 300 millimetres.
The normal rainfall ranged between 300 and 400 millimetres is forecast in Kigali, Northern province, Bugesera, Ngoma, Southern parts of Kayonza, Rwamagana, Kirehe, Gisagara, Huye, Nyanza, Ruhango, Muhanga, Kamonyi, Ngororero, Rubavu and Nyabihu districts.
However, districts of Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Karongi, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru are anticipated to have the above average rainfall of over 500 millimetres in two months of March and April.
Meteo Rwanda forecast indicate that the projected rainfall is set to have negative impacts on post-harvest handling activities and ongoing infrastructure projects.
According to the consolidated figures from the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management, the rains that have witnessed over the last weekend claimed 19 lives, injured eight people, destroyed 98 houses, two bridges and three road while 21 hectares of crops were washed away.
“We are currently focusing on relocating of people from the high-risk zones, and arguing those living in other communities to check their homes if they are strong enough to not put their lives in danger and revamp the drainage of water from their houses,” said Alphonse Hishamunda, acting director of prevention and mitigation unit in the ministry in charge of Emergency Management.
According to official figures, over 6,000 homes have been deemed to be in highrisk zones.
From late last year, the government embarked on the relocation of the people from the wetlands and the high-risk zones. Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, Minister for Environment said the exercise is set to continue with the rural areas.
“After Kigali, the next phase of relocation of people is going to be focusing on the rural areas,” said Ms Mujawamariya.
I addition to stopping development off the wetlands, Ms Mujawamariya said the government will also revamp and extend the water catchments.