Rwanda: The Rwandan government ordered to assess a GIS-based wetlands report of the country. The report was prepared by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority’s (REMA) in 2007. It had drawn mixed reactions, especially in the Eastern Province, where mayors noted that some of the areas highlighted in the report, were actually not swamps.
Mayors raised the issues after they were instructed to speed up the process of relocating families that fell within the boundaries of the wetlands, as per the report.
Rose Mukankomeje, Director General of REMA, told an African daily, that her department had finalised demarcating wetland boundaries in the country and people were supposed to be evacuated. On the other hand, Alvera Mukabaramba, State Minister in charge of Social affairs in the Ministry of Local Government, said that a steering committee was established to assess the report.
“A committee bringing together ministries of local government, agriculture, natural resources, REMA, Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, was constituted to assess the report,” Mukabaramba said in an interview.
The REMA report, however, had also marked plain land and valleys as wetlands, meaning all people living in such areas were supposed to vacate.
Didier Sagashya, the RNRA deputy Director General in charge of land and mapping, said that evaluation in the Eastern Province was complete.
“Like it was highlighted by mayors, we found some omissions. Some places that had been highlighted as wetlands in the GIS report, were actually found to be hills and valleys,” Sagasya said in an interview.
He outlined Gastibo, Kirehe, Nyagatare, Rwamagana and Kayonza as some of the districts that had been mostly affected by the previous report.
The committee will also measure the type of soil, potential flooding areas, risks and type of vegetation, to avoid disasters.