Over the past 30 years the frequency, intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts have increased in Rwanda. Eastern Africa has experienced extreme precipitation changes. Over the past 30-60 years, droughts and heavy rainfall have been experienced more frequently. Floods and landslides were increasingly reported in the high altitude western and northern provinces, whereas droughts made severe damages in the eastern province. Rwanda is susceptible to many diseases that are influenced by climatic factors such as malaria, meningitis, and cholera. Malaria affects the largest share of the population and is second in mortality (behind AIDS) responsible for 23.27% of all deaths. It is expected that in the future malaria will infiltrate into highland areas of East Africa (above 2,000 m), and these regions will experience increases in malaria epidemics.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Floods occur regularly in Rwanda from heavy rains and are often associated with El-Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Regions in northern Rwanda (provinces of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Byumba), southwestern Rwanda (Gikongoro and Butare), western Rwanda (Kibuye, and Gikongoro), and northern part of Kigali are the most vulnerable regions to floods.
- Droughts are a recurring natural disaster, which are frequently associated with ENSO, and affect Rwanda, often leading to famines, loss of animals, depletion of water resources, increased incidences of meningitis and other diseases, and loss of income. Together with erratic rainfall, droughts affect 60-90% of the households in the districts of Bugesera, Nyanza, Gisagara, Huye, and Rusizi-Nyamasheke.
- Rwanda is susceptible to many diseases that are influenced by climatic factors such as malaria, meningitis, and cholera. Of these, malaria affects the largest share of the population and is second in mortality (behind AIDS) responsible for 23.27% of all deaths. It is expected that in the future malaria will infiltrate into highland areas of East Africa (above 2,000 m), and these regions will experience increases in malaria epidemics.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- Due to the high susceptibility to extreme rains in Rwanda, increased development and efficiency of information systems, early warning systems, and rapid intervention mechanisms; as well as national land and forest development plans will be critical in reducing the populations’ vulnerability to such events in the country.
- Droughts can affect hundreds of thousands of Rwandans and adaptation strategies that focus on irrigation systems, introduction of drought tolerant crop species, development of an Early Warning System for food security, integrated water resources management, and promotion of non-agricultural activities will help decrease the socioeconomic impacts associated with droughts.
- In order to reduce the risks posed to public health by climate change, adaptation strategies call for increasing the geographic accessibility to health services; urban planning for housing in flood prone areas; increased capacity of the community to subscribe to health insurance; and education and training programs for communities.