Residents of 7 villages in Rwampara district have called for emergency relief after heavy rain washed away gardens of crops in the area.
Steven Tuhumure, the LC II chairperson Nyarundagazi parish explained that the long-awaited rains turned into despair on Friday when a rough down pour washed away houses and destroyed crops and animals in the area.
“On Friday evening heavy rain accompanied by strong winds washed away most of our banana plantations, took down houses and caused the death of several animals. As I speak, people in Nyaruhandagazi have nothing to eat,” says Tuhumure
He confirmed that more than 250 households in Nyakibare, Nyamabare and Rukandagyevillages in Nyaruhandagazi parish, Rwampara district, were badly affected by the heavy rains. Tuhumure requested the relevant stakeholders to donate some food to the most affected families.
“We request government and our area MP, Charles Ngabirano, to support us so that people in this area can get something to eat,” he said.
Moses Muyunga, one of the affected residents, also appealed for government’s assistance.
“We request for support from the relevant people in government because we were badly hit by the hailstorm,” Muyunga pleaded.
Some of the affected crops include banana plantations, beans, coffee, tomatoes, cabbages, and cassava plantations.
Environmental degradation blamed
Rwampara district is no stranger to damaging downpours. In April this year, this website reported a similar heavy down pour that ravaged areas of Kikuru, Rukandagye, Kitunguru, Rwemigyera, and Katereza.
Asaph Muhangi, the LCV Chairperson Rwampara, attributed the persistent devastation brought on by heavy rain in the area to its hilly terrain. .
“As rain comes from the mountains and travels to the valley it gains momentum and sometimes causes severe damage as a result,” Muhangi explained.
In addition, he said that environmental degradation has left the area especially vulnerable to the strong winds that often accompany the rains.
“We are supposed to have wind breakers in the form of forests and vegetation, but when you
look at the mountains of Rwampara they are just bare,” Muhangi said.
He says that in the past, local Mwizi forest, which was planted in the early 1990s for both economic and climate reasons, provided some sort of cover for the area and helped to stabilise Rwampara’s climate.
“This is no longer the case because there is no clear pattern in the manner in which the trees are harvested.”
The district boss believes that returning to a more systematic approach in management of the forest would alleviate some of the climate disasters facing the district.
“Everyday people are cutting trees and they are not planting any. We need to plant more trees and go back to harvesting in an orderly manner,” Muhangi argued.
The LC V Chairperson revealed that the district is considering a bylaw to enforce tree planting as one way of recovering the vegetation cover of Rwampara Constituency.
“We are actually establishing a bylaw that would make it a social responsibility for whoever wants to carry out any activity in Rwampara to provide a component of afforestation,” Muhangi said, adding:
“We have to enforce tree planting to recover the old glory and heritage of Rwampara, otherwise
we shall keep crying each time there’s a downpour.”