“My home was demolished by heavy rains in the middle of the night when we were all asleep and collapsed. Luckily, I managed to survive with all my 6 children.”

Mukamana Thaciana’s family is one of the 1,058 households most affected by heavy rains that hit Kamonyi district in Rwanda’s Southern Province who received relief non-food supplies from Rwanda Red Cross Society (RRCS) in partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDMAR).

Detailed assessments conducted indicated among others that the heavy rains which hit Kamonyi in late April resulted into 15 deaths and 11 injuries and destruction of 263.3ha of food plantations.

The rains also damaged the electricity distribution lines and 11 bridges and 11 roads which connect sectors within the district were also severely damaged.

Hundreds of families lost their houses to the heavy rains with 170 recorded in Rukoma sector one of the 12 affected in the district.

“We thank volunteers who were there to respond to the needs of the community urgently when disasters hit and MIDIMAR and District authorities that have helped console give hope to our affected communities during these harsh times,” Bazuru Innocent, the social affairs officer of Rukoma sector where the distribution of relief items took place and which was most affected noted.

Local residents welcomed affected families to find warmth in their homes in the hard times.

In his message to the residents, RRCS Board President Dr. Bwito Paul condoled with families affected by the disasters especially those that lost loved ones. He also requested residents to heed to advises given by local authorities and volunteers regarding relocating from high risk zones.

“Please listen when you are asked to settle in demarcated areas, it is for our collective security. Also, take extra caution on hygiene and sanitation during these heavy rains because risks of waterborne diseases are now higher.”

Red Cross volunteers have been supporting communities affected by heavy rains that caused losses of lives and property across the country

For MIDIMAR, the effects that heavy rains had in various parts of Rwanda will call for more mobilization of support for the many affected households to recover.

“We are sorry for all the losses you suffered and promise that with our various partners, we will stay the course of recovery with you. My message is emphasizing that we want you to help us in resettling from high risk zones.”

For people staying in partly demolished houses, they were advised vacate them as their risk of falling any time remains high.

Also, residents were counselled to harvest rain water from their houses to avoid it from flowing into the house structure and weakening it which results into collapsing during such heavy rains.

Items given included saucepans, sleeping mats, loincloths (kitenge), tarpaulins, sleeping nets, blankets, soap and jerry cans to all 1,058 families affected by heavy rains in Kamonyi district costing close to Frw55 million.

Though the items given are only a fraction of the losses suffered, affected families say that they represent a new seed of hope upon which they will build in the road to recovery.

Rwanda has in the last three months been affected by heavy rains and landslides that have caused hundreds of deaths, demolished thousands of homes and destroyed enormous areas of food crop plantations leaving behind a fear for what lies ahead.

The Rwanda Red Cross in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, its partner national societies and the Government of Rwanda has been among lead actors supporting affected families to cope with these losses by providing first responder aid in search and rescue and accompanying grieving families among others.