The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA), Philippe Habinshuti, has said that over 19,000 households living in areas prone to disasters in different parts of the country, should urgently be relocated to safe places.
Habinshuti made the appeal on May 11, while making a presentation on MINEMA’s spending priorities for the next fiscal year, during the budget hearing for 2023/24 fiscal year.
He indicated that the ministry needed more than Rwf13.9 billion to implement a project to relocate the over 19,000 households from high risk zones in the next fiscal year which will begin on July 1, but such funds were not allocated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
“We made an assessment and identified 19,179 families in very high risk zones, which can endanger their lives in case of disasters, and we realised that those funds are not available,” he said.
“Lack of those funds to relocate the people in question as a long-term solution, leads us into the issues like these we are experiencing currently, and we incur a huge cost on response,” he observed, referring to heavy rain-induced floods and landslides that killed more than 130 people in different districts of the country, on May 2 and May 3 this year.
For him, it would be better if the money that is spent on recovery is used on saving the lives of people through building their resilience to possible disasters.
Faustin Vuningoma, Coordinator at Rwanda Climate Change and Development Network (RCCDN), said that resources should be mobilised to resettle in safe areas people who are living in high risk zones.
The Chairperson of the Lower House’s Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, MP Omar Munyaneza, said that issues that can put people’s lives at risk must be addressed.
“Protecting people’s lives is our common responsibility,” he said, adding that parliamentarians will discuss the relocation funding matter with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, with a view to do the needful.