Prioritization of disasters and their management in Rwanda

E Rugigana, L Nyirazinyoye, A Umubyeyi, J B Nsengiyumva, C Kanyandekwe, I Ntahobakulira
East African Journal of Public Health 2013, 10 (2): 428-38

INTRODUCTION: Rwanda has been experiencing quite a significant number of disastrous events of both natural and man-made origin in the last 2 decades. Many cases of disasters are particularly linked to the geographic, historical and socio-cultural aspects of the country. The overall objective of the present article is to perform a situation analysis of disasters in Rwanda and to highlight the institutional and legal framework of disaster management.

METHODS: An assessment questionnaire focused on the current capacity, institutional frameworks and on-going initiatives for disaster management at country level and operational level was administered. The assessment was descriptive and used mainly qualitative methods. These included review of records (country policies and policy briefs, programme documents), interviews with key informants from line ministries, and interviews with key informants from stakeholder agencies.

RESULTS: The Rwandan hazard profile, its vulnerability and capacity assessment shows top seven disasters which are related to epidemics, hails storms/floods; roads accidents; environmental degradation and earthquakes/volcanic eruption. Currently, the Institutional framework for disaster management and response is coordinated by Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs through the Rwanda National Disasters Operation Center. Although disaster risk reduction has been integrated into sustainable policies and plans, most districts do not have adequate capacity to plan for disasters and the majority of districts disaster committees have not yet been trained.

CONCLUSION: Rwanda has established a legal and institutional framework for disasters management. There is a need to build capacity in disaster management at operational level (District).

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