The City of Kigali has started a safety exercise that intends to rescue the people in high risk zones to avoid potential calamities.
Since early this month, five thousand houses have been marked for relocation in the first phase which will be followed by several others.
According to the City of Kigali Mayor Pudence Rubingisa, hills that are higher than 50% slopes and those between 30-50% in some areas are eligible for this endeavor.
Also eligible are houses within five meters near the risky waterways and buffer zone of 20 meters from the swamp. Examples of areas that will be affected include Gatsata and Jali.
“We are relocating dwellers of high risk zone to protect them from disasters. We are not compensating them because they keep their plots,” Mayor Rubingisa further said.
“The land will always belong to the citizen, but used for intended purpose according to the Master plan guideline. The owners will be allowed to sell their plots or decide to join hands with others to put them to good use.”
However, the mayor admits that they need to conduct more sensitization to make sure that the target population understand the rationale of this initiative.
“We are still convincing some residents that the purpose is to relocate people whose houses are not built in accordance with the steepness of the area, and they will be back after constructing strong houses due to the fact that there is no other planned government project in that place,” he said.
After the relocation, three options will apply. First one is for the owners of the plot to develop houses in accordance with the Master Plan. Second option suggests to settle some of the plot owners in social category, while giving others alternative plots.
“The houses will be cleared to avoid that any attempt to want to return to them,” Rubingisa said.
Although the houses are being destroyed, but the families are being helped to get the temporary accommodation facilitation.
The Mayor said that relocated households in their own houses will be assisted with renting fees for three months, while tenants will be given money to rent in other areas for one month.
As per Rubingisa, the area where people are vacating can be redeveloped.
“Actually, the place is habitable but built in a way that does not meet the steepness of the hills. This means that the one who will be able to build a strong house will do so because citizens are still owners of the land,” said Rubingisa.
The city of Kigali expects that within six months those who have the financial capacity will be allowed to start building strong houses in their parcels or in other places that are not in High Risk Zones.