Displaced families appeal for food, fresh building materials

Tuesday June 23 2020

Houses

Thousands of families, whose houses have been destroyed by the disasters that have hit the country recently, are looking forward to receiving help from the government. Photo | Cyril Ndegeya  

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Even as the government reports dozens of lives have been lost to the torrentials rains that have hit the country recently, and thousands of families left without shelters, and housed in classrooms, the victims say they are in a dire situation.

“We are in need of the basic needs such as foodstuff. We are also going to need construction materials because it’s almost impossible to get building stones or bricks because the streams washed away our land,” said Theoneste Kamali, a resident of Cyabingo sector in Gakenke District.

According to the affected residents, with their belongings lost or destroyed, their hope is with the government.

It is worse when one considers that schools are about to open, meaning the displaced families have to look for accommodation elsewhere as their source of living have been affected by the disasters and "it is difficult for us to have built our own houses in the remaining time,” Faustin Nsengimana, a resident of Mpinga cell in Shyira sector in Nyabihu district.

Minister of Local Government Anastase Shyaka pledged government support to the affected families, saying they would be assisted in finding new shelters.

However, while the government officials pledged to support the affected families, Members of Parliament complained at the budget scrutiny session that the government overlooked the affected families and excluded them from the budget preparation.

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The Ministry of Emergency Management figures put the death toll from the rains since April 1 at over 160 people while at least 172 were injured. The rains left 9,251 people displaced.

Western and Northern parts of the country are the worst-hit regions as Gakenke and Nyabihu districts count over 1,860 and 1,410 houses destroyed respectively.

In these areas, sizeable land has been submerged or washed away.

Faustin Hakizimana, a resident of Mpinga cell in Shyira sector of Nyabihu district said the effects of the displacements will be felt for a long time to come because most of their properties have been destroyed and those which would have supported them in the future are no longer there.

“Our fertile farmlands have been swept away or turned into sandy surfaces as water flows over them, dumping sand and these cannot be turned again into fertile soil any time soon,” he said

Heavy rains that have stricken the country has not only sent shocks in different sectors, which have seen the movement of the people and goods disrupted but let thousands of families in an unfortunate situation, with many, having to start afresh.

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