Rwanda: Kigali -Risk Zones

The City of Kigali has announced that 5,812 households must be urgently relocated from high-risk zones, according to an assessment as of Thursday, May 11.

The decision was made in response to the deadly flooding and landslides that wreaked havoc in parts of Western, Northern, and Southern provinces earlier last week during which 131 lives lost their lives.

The City of Kigali told The New Times that those who were renting are being relocated and given one-month rent fees while those who own residential houses are being given three-month rent fees.

Of the 5, 812 households, the City of Kigali said 2,332 households were renting in high-risk zones.

City of Kigali Mayor, Pudence Rubingisa, said 361 households have already been relocated.

He said the exercise to evacuate people from high-risk zones goes on as water channels are set to be regularly cleaned to curb flooding.

“The local people and leaders should provide information about houses and infrastructure in high-risk zones and those affected by disasters. The city’s inspection is ongoing to identify those in need of urgent relocation,” he said.

Rubingisa said the residents living at a 50 per cent slope have to relocate or upgrade their settlement based on the land characteristics, as well as environmental and engineering guidelines.

“The inspection is also being carried out to identify those living close to high-risk drainage areas and wetlands,” he noted.

Rubingisa urged residents to avoid dumping waste in water channels.

“When such waste is washed away into wetlands, it prevents water penetration into the soil. As the waste blocks waterways, flooding can damage infrastructure and crops,” he noted.

The City of Kigali’s recent assessment found 24,404 plots with about 27,000 houses in high-risk zones despite living in residential areas in 35 sectors of the capital.

The high-risk zones are those that put people’s lives at risk namely wetlands, sloppy land, living 10 metres from drainages, and others, city engineers said.

High-risk zones are also those in residential zones but in unplanned settlements creating vulnerability and are places that are inaccessible, especially during an emergency.

Due to a lack of basic infrastructure such as drainages, roads, walkways, flood mitigation facilities, and others, these zones become high-risk.

Projects to upgrade unplanned settlements

Kigali’s major unplanned settlements will soon be upgraded at a cost of approximately $70 million (Rwf76 billion) in order to reduce vulnerability in high-risk zones.

The unplanned settlements in Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, and Gasabo districts will receive basic infrastructure such as roads, pedestrian ways, drainages, street lights, electricity, health centres, markets, schools, water, and others that are needed to facilitate people’s daily businesses.

The four unplanned settlements selected in the City of Kigali are Mpazi in Nyarugenge District, Gatenga in Kicukiro District, and Nyagatovu and Nyabisindu both located in Gasabo District.

The basic infrastructure is expected to increase the value of residents’ land, which will also motivate them to refurbish their houses.

The approach seeks to upgrade such slums while minimising recurrent eviction of dwellers.

In Nyarugenge District, the upgrading of unplanned settlements on 137 hectares in Muhima, Gitega, and Kimisagara sectors will be carried out, and the Mpazi drainage will be rehabilitated to curb floods.