Lack of funds delays works

Friday September 18 2020

The government is yet to raise money to facilitate the removal of cancerous asbestos roofing from different government and private structures. Photo | Cyril NDEGEYA


The government is yet to raise money to facilitate removal of cancerous asbestos roofing from different government and private structures.

The delay means more lives are at risk as people continue to live in shelters that exposes them to health hazards.

While the exercises were initially planned to be done by the end of this year, the government officials said the exercises have fallen short with the Rwf3.6 billion on the government funding allocation to execute the exercises.

Rwanda Today has learned that over 527, 000 square meters of deadly asbestos roofing material remains intact on both private and public buildings.

“We have initially planned to get rid of all the asbestos roofing by the end of this year but it has been stalled due to the budget constraints,” said Noel Nsanzineza, acting director of Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA).

“As the exercise challenged by the budget constraints, we have pushed back that deadline and we now wish to have all these asbestos removed from the government by the end of next year,” he added.


However, Nsanzineza indicates that a campaign is underway for both public and privately owned structures with asbestos to eliminate it, adding that RHA has al-ready developed a roadmap that will ensure asbestos is replaced from all public buildings.

According to the recent report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and World Health Organization, the cancer prevalence in Rwanda has been steadily increasing over the past five years. The agencies have recorded 7,662 lives lost to cancer, while over 10, 000 of new cases have been registered in 2018.

However, no research has directly linked any of the cases to the exposure on the cancerous asbestos roofing that were built during the colonial era.

According to experts, eradicating the asbestos material requires some expertise to ensure that the toxic substance is handled in a way that will not harm human life.

With more than one million square meters of asbestos roofing being documented across the country, the government has initially estimated that the disposing of them would cost over Rwf10 billion, which has seen concern over cancerous asbestos grow.

The government official figures indicate that the southern Province has the most structures with asbestos roofing compared to other regions in the country, with most of the structures being mostly the schools, churches and the hospitals.