2021-2022 Trócaire Annual ReportLearn More
Trócaire’s country director in Rwanda, Marleen Masclee, writes about the impact and response to the recent devastating rains in Nyundo Diocese
It is one week since heavy rain flooded part of Rwanda’s western and northern provinces, and a huge clean-up operation is underway. The impact has been devastating in the region, with 131 people losing their lives and close on 6,000 homes destroyed.
The heavy rains swept away everything in their path demolishing homes, cutting off roads, and wiping out crops and livestock.
Immediately after news broke about the flooding, we contacted our partner on the ground, Caritas Nyundo. Its Director, Father Jean Paul Rutakisha, informed us that aside from the enormous damage to people’s homes and lands, the Diocese itself also suffered hugely from the mud streams and water that reached up to one and a half meters high.
Nyundo Diocese hosts close to 400 students and 40 priests in its seminary. All of them managed to get to safety, although some had to escape onto rooftops in order not to be washed away by the fierce mud streams.
Miraculously, containers of rice and beans were not destroyed, and Caritas Nyundo immediately swung into action getting people to safe areas, bringing the injured to hospital, and providing food for those that lost everything.
Trocaire put in place an emergency support of €20,000 which the Caritas Nyundo team used to support their response work.
The money was also used to provide over 1,000 people with cash sent directly into mobile accounts, a very safe and dignified way of supporting families in need. Families used the cash grants for clothes, additional food, medical care and other needs which are really high.
On my visit to Nyundo Diocese, a week after the floods, it was like they only happened yesterday. Caritas Nyundo staff and a hundred or so neighboring parishioners were fervently cleaning, removing mud and dirt and trying to save what they could.
Sadly, all laptops, printers, books, archives and vehicles were damaged and no longer usable. It was a sad sight.
As I walked around the Diocese grounds, it started to rain again. I saw the clouds over the mountains and am wondering whether more is coming our way.
The Government of Rwanda and the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) is taking strong measures. All those in need of support are being welcomed into settlements and receiving hot meals, healthcare, mattresses, blankets and hygiene items. At the same time plans are being put in place to relocate families to safe areas away from their high risk zones, because there is a chance that the floods might happen again.
In addition to providing emergency funding directly to Caritas Nyundo, Trócaire, in collaboration with MINEMA and district authorities, has partnered up with Tearfund and a team of three local organizations (Caritas Nyundo, Africa Evangelistic Enterprise and Duhamic Adri) and received a START grant of €345,000 to provide additional support to 12,000 affected people. We are grateful for START Fund for this generous contribution made.