Rwanda purchases equipment to tame fires

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Ministers of Local government and Internal Security, Francis Kaboneka (L) Musa Fazil Harerimana (2nd from L) inspecting the new trucks

 

The problem of fire outbreaks may soon be under control as the Rwandan government acquired firefighting trucks worth about Rwf1.9 billion.

The Ministry of Local Government handed over four new fire trucks to the National Police adding to the eight existing trucks, including a Bronto sky-lift vehicle with capacity to extinguish fires at the 20th floor.

The move comes at a time when government and the business community lost about Rwf5billions in fire outbreaks countrywide between 2013 and 2014, and the new trucks will be stationed at the four provincial offices in order to respond to fires that have broken out in the countryside.

According to the Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka, the increasing number of fire outbreaks is partly due to the growth of the capital city-Kigali and other secondary cities countrywide, something he says calls for new initiatives and contingent measures in all districts.

Fire outbreaks have been common in the country in the recent past, with 326 fires registered across the country since 2011. A total of 84 fire outbreaks were registered in 2011, 93 in 2012, 73 in 2013 and 76 in 2014.

Fire disasters claimed 76 lives and seriously injured 125 between January and October last year, while up to 1,725 houses and 1,183 hectares of plantations were destroyed, resulting into citizen demands for immediate action by government.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between MIINALOC and Police giving the latter fresh responsibility to maintain and respond to fire outbreaks on time, while the local government was tasked to educate all the 30 districts and train local experts to respond to emergency cases in the communities.

Following widespread devastation across the country caused by disasters in recent years, the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs (Midimar) has urged people to insure their property to avoid losses caused by disasters.

However, most public buildings yet to comply with fire safety rules.