Rwanda: Floods and Windstorm - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), DREF Operation n° MDRRW020

Situation Report
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A. Situation Analysis

Description of the disaster

More recently, from 28 April to 2nd May 2021, extensive flooding and mudslides were reported in Burera District due to waterflows and rocks from the volcanoes. The effects of rains and windstorm has also been observed in other districts including Gicumbi and Kayonza Districts as of 30 April 2021. This has led to extensive destruction of houses, crops, latrines death of livestock, destruction of the roads, and loss of households’ materials and even human death.

For Burera District, only one sector is affected, namely Gahunga Sector, with maximum recorded rainfall at 80mm. In Gicumbi Rutare, Rukomo, Byumba, Kageyo, Miyove, Ruvune and Nyankenke sectors; with maximum recorded rainfall 60mm and for Kayonza district: Mwili Sector with maximum rainfall at 53mm.

According to the initial assessments conducted by the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and Rwanda Red Cross Society (RRCS) from 28 April, it is estimated that more than 6,500 people (1,300 households) have been affected as a result of this flooding accompanied by windstorm. One person is reported to have died in Burera and no injuries reported. A total of 300 hectares of crops have been damaged and, in most cases, destroyed.

Cumulatively, these rains have caused extensive damage to 848 houses which were partially or completely destroyed, while 181 latrines have been washed away in Burera, Gicumbi Districts and Kayonza Districts. In addition to damages on the houses, a variety of household items and clothing have been swept away, leaving the affected populations without the basic amenities, including lost food stock. Beddings have also been destroyed, creating the need for mattresses and blankets. Some of the affected populations and others in the high-risk zones have been forced to flee their homes and are now temporarily accommodated by Faith Based Organizations or in government structures, while some of them are hosted by their neighbours and relatives. The households in the temporary shelters and those in host families are sharing household items, exposing them to the risk of disease infection including Covid-19.

Since the beginning of January 2020, Rwanda has increasingly experienced heavy rains, thunders and strong windstorm, affecting most parts of the country. As a result, the flood and other effect of waterflows and rock from volcanoes as well as mudslide and windstorm have been reported in Rubavu, Nyamagabe, Gasabo, Burera and Gicumbi Districts in Northern Part and Kayonza in Eastern Part of Rwanda. In January and February, some 2,500 people reported to be affected in above mentioned communities.

The situation presents a risk for the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and malarias as well as COVID-19 since the disasters are happening in sequence. Gicumbi District currently has high number of COVID-19 cases, this an entire Sector of the District is in total lockdown. The most affected families are the ones with the weak/damaged houses, and all of them are in category E, D and C of Social Economic Categories of UBUDEHE (Rwandan social stratification system), which means that their already poor living conditions have further worsened due to the current situation. The lack of food stuffs may result in malnutrition in the short term, especially among children under five, lactating mothers and the elderly. The situation is worsened by the fact that most crops have been washed away and the expected yields for current agriculture season will drastically decrease, not only that but also COVID-19 situation that has economically affected them even before the disasters.

Summary of the current response

The RRCS has mobilized its staff and volunteers to provide immediate assistance to the affected communities. In addition to the Search and Rescue, evacuation, Restoring Family link, First Aid and PSS, the NS has conducted a needs assessment from 28 April to 2 May. Basic household items have also been provided particularly to the families with children under five, and pregnant women. However, due to insufficient stock only 300 household have been supported in Burera District with household items kits. Rwanda Red Cross will use the opportunity of this operation, to replenish these 300 HHI kits and cover needs for additional 700 most vulnerable households.

A total of 45 volunteers comprised of 6 NDRT members, 15 BDRT members, 24 LDRTs volunteers and 4 staff (3 from branches) have been deployed to support household items distributions.

RRCS has responded to different disasters including COVID-19 since January 2021. Therefore, the stocks for Basic household items have been utilised to support families affected by the disaster (2,500 in Kirehe, Rubavu, Nyamagabe and Kayonza Districts) and others affected due to COVID-19 (particular the WASH items (380) in Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Kicukiro Districts. Other items in the National Strategic stock have been distributed to 30 stocks of RRC branches for preparedness for effective response to any emergencies. This has decreased the capacity of the National Stock to be able to respond to all families affected currently.

Still as part of the initial response, additional activities have been carried out such as sensitization activities on hygiene and sanitation and risk reduction (the sessions involve how to prevent COVID-19) by RRC Volunteers through house-to-house visits