Environment

Flood hits northern areas of Bujumbura

Inhabitants of Carama, Kanga, Kinama and Gatunguru areas in the capital Bujumbura were awoken by flood that invaded their homes in the night of 2 to 3 March 2017.

A woman whose home was inundated by the flood talks to journalists

A woman whose home was inundated by the flood talks to journalists

Officials from the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Public Works and the local administration visited the areas to determine the causes and collect information that will help them solve the problem for good.

“We visited the affected areas to realize what caused the flood so that we can find a sustainable solution”, says Sindayihebura Simon, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment.

They realized the main cause was the wrong construction of drainage channels. “Drainage channels have been poorly built”, observed Juvénal Baransata, Advisor in the Ministry of Public Works. “The channels are larger upstream and narrower downstream which causes the water to overflow downstream or channels to be obstructed”, he concludes.

The officials also blamed residents for violating urbanism rules in building their houses. “They don’t build channels to drain water from their roofs”, says Baransata. He also blames officials who fail to enact laws.

Incidents like that are frequent in the areas. The floods cause material and human damages. Back in 2014 in Gatunguru, flood caused serious damages including over 100 human lives. “Thankfully, this recent flood didn’t cause serious damages”, says Sindayihebura.

He says that “together with other officials of the Ministry and other stakeholders we will plan how to address the problem”.

Concrete actions will include reconstructing the drainage channels and urging officials to enact regulations on building in urban areas, says Baransata. Residents will also be urged to adopt “responsible behaviour” and for example empty obstructed channels without waiting for others to do it for them, he adds.

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