Kisoro, Rubanda leaders call for decentralisation of emergency funds

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Kisoro, Rubanda leaders call for decentralisation of emergency funds
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Leaders from Kisoro and Rubanda Districts have raised concerns ove the centralization of emergency funds by the government, highlighting delays and insufficient responses to emergencies in their respective areas.

The government, through the Office of the Prime Minister in collaboration with the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, currently manage emergency funds aimed at addressing disasters across the country.

According to district leaders, the current centralized approach often results in delayed or inadequate responses to emergencies such as natural disasters and other crises.

They argue that the process of seeking assistance from the Office of the Prime Minister can be lengthy and bureaucratic, hampering effective response efforts at the local level.

Stephen Ampeire Kasyaba, the Rubanda District LC5 Chairperson, expressed frustration over the lack of timely response from the central government when emergencies occur in their district.

He emphasized the need for decentralization of emergency funds, asserting that local governments are better positioned to swiftly and efficiently address emergencies within their jurisdictions.

"We have written several letters seeking emergency assistance from the Ministry of Disaster and the Office of the Prime Minister, but the biggest challenge we face is that we never receive a response. These days, when we write, we often include the phrase 'as usual, no response.' As the district Chairperson, I strongly advocate that the disaster funds should be allocated to the district because that is where the disaster occurs," said Kasyaba.

Similarly, Abel Bizimana, the Kisoro District LC5 Chairperson, highlighted the vulnerability of their district to natural disasters, especially during the rainy season.

He cited instances of damaged roads, destroyed crop gardens, and loss of lives due to the lack of sufficient resources and capacity at the local level to respond effectively.

"Due to climate change issues, Kisoro faces significant challenges as a highly disaster-prone area. As I speak, most of the roads are being blocked intermittently, making it difficult for us to maintain open roads for more than two days at a time. However, as a district, our capacity to clear these mudslides and maintain the roads is severely limited,"  Bizimana said.

These district leaders have called for a shift towards decentralization, advocating for emergency funds to be allocated directly to local governments.

They believe that empowering local authorities with resources and decision-making authority will enhance preparedness and response capabilities, ultimately safeguarding lives and livelihoods in vulnerable communities.

Due to its hilly terrain, the Kigezi Sub-region is prone to disasters related to climate change.

In Kisoro District 10 people died recently following  a mudslide which also destroyed  crops and houses.

Last week three people died  in Rubanda District's Butaare-Katojo Town Council following a heavy downpour which also destroyed several houses.


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