GIS to curb natural disasters in Rwanda

The Institute of Lay Adventist (INILAK) on July 29th, 2014 hosted an International conference on the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which will provide strategies to curb natural disasters that are affecting Rwanda according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDMAR).

GIS experts from different countries attending the 20th Conference in INILAK, Kigali

GIS experts from different countries attending the 20th Conference in INILAK, Kigali

GIS is a system used in resource management, development planning and scientific research that is used in collecting the information on specific sectors and put together for easy access and effective planning by the government and the private sector.

According to MIDIMAR, the house, crops and properties that were destroyed by natural disasters since 2012 are worth Rwf52 Billion not saying before then when countless properties were destroyed.

According to Antoine Ruvebana the Permanent Secretary of MIDIMAR, Rwanda needs the GIS knowledge in curbing natural disasters effects. “If we know the steepness of a certain mountain, the makeup of the land and the rain that falls there, we can know if there will be landslides, flooding and we prepare accordingly.”

The GIS equipment is available in Rwanda but lacks enough experts to use the available equipment though they are expected to come from the students in universities and Higher Institutions of learning says Ruvebana.

Some of the people attending GIS international conference

Some of the people attending GIS international conference

The GIS network in Rwanda has provided the geographic information showing places mostly affected by natural disasters.

“It has helped in identifying much safer zones for people’s settlement and in numbering of land but a lot is yet to be done,” explains Dr Gaspard Rwanyiziri the coordinator of GIS in the University of Rwanda.

Rwanda has a vision to have 30% of its land to be covered in forestry by 2020 and GIS has to play a role in identifying the geographical locations as Dr Gaspard Rwanyiziri explains.

INILAK students have been asked to learn from the GIS teams from Russia, China, Canada, Italy, Hungry, Hong Kong, Kenya, Tanzania and GIS experts from different colleges of University of Rwanda who are in this conference.

INILAK is an affiliate of Xinjiang University of Science in China

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