Since December 10, some 198 families in different locations around Nyarugenge district were forced to leave immediately without warning. They were immediately moved to a school complexes.
Kigali authorities say they are enforcing a relocation order issued in 2017, and repeated in May last year, asking all people living on hillsides, which are categorized as ‘mu manegeka’ or “high risk zones”, to leave.
However, the latest order has been enforced after the meteorological agency warned last month that there would be heavy rain almost daily throughout the country up to December 31.
These first families affected by the emergency relocation order are now housed at Kamuhoza school in Kimisagara sector and 11 other sites. There, they are living in classrooms, where government is providing them with basics like food.
Some are living with families in other areas, but will have to find permanent homes to move to.
Meanwhile, beginning this Saturday, without prior warning, families living in areas of Mulindi, Bannyahe, Muhima and Rwampara – all in Nyarugenge sector of the Nyarugenge district, are seeing their homes being razed to the ground.
According to them, mid last week they were issued with a 15 Day notice to leave these areas, considered wetlands. However, 3 days into the ‘Move’ notice, men wielding different tools descended on the villages and began destroying the homes.
Some people were still sleeping when the rowdy men arrived.
City authorities say these people in low-laying areas have to leave as there has been flooding, and more heavy rain expected which puts them in danger.
By press time, there is no specific number of families whose houses have been demolished. The process is continuing.
The landlords and tenants were all in tears in Gatsata area of Kigali. Two girls, who are orphans and are looked after by good samaritans who pay for their rent and tuition said they have no where to go.
In the whole of Kigali, made up of Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Kicukiro districts, there are 7,222 properties in wetlands; both residential homes and businesses which include garages and warehouses. All these must move, as par standing order that has been around for years.
As for the hillsides or high risk zones, which are at risk of landslides as the hills suck up more rain water, Kigali city says in Nyarugenge district alone, there 13,400 families in danger.
Kigali city said in a statement on Sunday that 48 families had heeded the call to move away from wetlands, and actually thanked them. All the other are encouraged to leave, said the statement.
How the 198 currently housed in a school were selected is another issue, though city authorities said the danger on these was at critical level and they had to move.