Following a series of heavy rains that led to the loss of over 54 lives and destroyed more than 269 houses in Gakenke district, has this Tuesday in partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs distributed Nonfood items (NFIs) to 499 households hit by the disaster in Gakenke district.
The support offered to each of the households whose lives were harshly impacted by floods and mudslides included a tent for temporary shelter, two jerry cans, two blankets, two sleeping mats, a kitchen set, and soap, kitenge for women and clothes for children to help them in the short term.
69 year old Niyonsanga Emmanuel a widower with five children is among the beneficiaries of this distribution of NFIs which came in to support the most vulnerable people who have been left with nothing as a result of the floods and mudslides that hit Gakenke district.
“My whole house was washed away by the mudslides down the hill. Now without a place to call home, we will erect this tent that I have been given and sleep there while more solutions for the long term are sought. I am really grateful to the government and the Red Cross for being close to us from the very beginning of this disaster, I am really happy for the support given.”
Rwanda Red Cross volunteers have also been instrumental in rescue operations since the beginning of the catastrophe in the morning of 8th May 2016 from around 2:00 am in the morning.
Among other activities, volunteers supported the rescue of people who were stuck in house debris, trained swimmers in the local disaster response teams of the district helped rescue especially children and women who were drowning in the flood waters in addition to offering psychosocial support to families that lost loved ones to the disaster during burial ceremonies on Monday May 9th.
Gakenke sector which has so far recorded 211 houses that have completely been destroyed in addition to over 221 which were partially demolished and on the verge of total destruction was the most affected by these disasters in the district and victims from this sector have been lead targets for the Rwanda Red Cross support aimed at helping the most vulnerable.
The Executive Secretary of the sector Bisengimana Janvier noted that the NFI support given has been greatly needed by his residents.
“These (NFIs) are immediate needs which will help victims of these disasters to cope with what they are going through. We thank the Red Cross, government and all other partners for the immediate support, I recall that throughout the night of Saturday when the disaster begun, we were with Red Cross volunteers helping in the rescue operation.”
In a rapid assessment that the Rwanda Red Cross team on field is conducting, it has been noticed that there is great need for food since several food stores and plantations were washed away by mudslides, need for shelter in the short term and relocation of families from high risk zones in the medium term.
Also, 80 households that were greatly affected by similar disaster in Muhanga District in Rwanda’s Southern Province have also today been given similar support by the Rwanda Red Cross in partnership with MIDMAR to help those most affected to cope with the challenges that have arose from the floods and mudslides that his the area.