The heavy rain warning needs to trigger action

Thursday March 11 2021

A mixture of El Nino and other weather patterns are predicted to trigger heavy rainfall in the coming days. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


A new weather forecast from the meteorological department is predicting above normal rainfall in the next three months in the country, a prediction that could spell devastation across the country due to flooding and destruction of crops.

According to the National consensus climate outlook for the March-April-May 2021 season, Kigali, eastern province and a few parts of Southern Province in Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts Provinces are predicted to experience above normal rainfall, ranging between 350 and 450 millimetres.

The country experiences this type of rain almost every year and every time this happens, people lose lives due to landslides where houses collapse on those living in high risk zones, infrastructures are destroyed, while thousands of acres of crops are destroyed.

The rationale of having the meteorological department in place is to help the country predict disasters before they happen in order to avert or minimise damage through pre-determined interventions. The coronavirus pandemic has exasperated people's vulnerabilities, many have lost household incomes due to job losses, which might make it difficult for many to relocate from high risk zones on their own, because they can't afford the costs of relocation.

The government ought to come up with a well thought out relocation plan for people in high risk zones, facilitating the whole process, if the lives of people in these areas are to be saved, and to avoid landslide related tragedies like it has happened in the past.

This destructive rainfall is expected in the western province and districts of Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru in the Southern Province, with a predicted amount of rainfall ranging between 550 and 600 millimetres.


Given that the government is equipped with information about where it will rain, it is only prudent that it uses this data to prepare beforehand by mapping the areas and launching timely interventions to avert danger and limit damage.

The meteo department is currently urging all institutions to prepare and put in place mitigation measures to reduce the adverse impact on lives, property and infrastructure. This predicament is attributable to effects of climate change, and much as the government can't be blamed, it should be held accountable if it's occurrence continues to kill people and destroy infrastructure and crops.

For instance, up to now the government has yet to install enough lightning conductors in prone areas, which has led to people dying of lightning every year, which is unacceptable. The country is already experiencing pockets of food insecurity due to low production from food producing regions, largely due to coronavirus disruptions, climate change, and poor rain, it can't afford destruction of crops, because it would add insult to injury.

Now that the government has this information, the next step should be to engage farmers and prepare them adequately.

The information should also be used to alert farmers in those areas to be aware of what is coming in order to suspend farming in those regions of the country.