The recent devastating floods that swept through the Western, Southern, and Northern provinces have left a trail of destruction, affecting thousands of residents who lost their National Identity cards and land titles. In response to this crisis, the National Identification Agency (NIDA) has swiftly mobilized a dedicated workforce to provide support and facilitate the issuance of new identification documents for the affected individuals.

The floods, which occurred on May 2 and 3, tragically claimed the lives of 135 people and displaced approximately 20,000 residents, leaving them homeless. Additionally, 6,000 houses were destroyed in the districts of Rubavu, Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Karongi, and Ngororero.

Yves Manzi, a Data Verification and Quality Assurance Officer at NIDA, explained that the identification process commenced on Monday, June 5, at a temporary accommodation facility near College Inyemeramihigo, a secondary school in the Rubavu district. He emphasized that National Identity cards were among the documents washed away by the floods, necessitating the provision of ID services at the temporary accommodation sites. This initiative aims to assist not only those who lost their IDs but also young individuals who require IDs for the first time. For those who had IDs but lost them during the floods, their records are already in the system, and NIDA’s goal is to identify them and reprint their IDs.

Since the start of the identification process, 134 flood victims who lost their IDs and 50 youths seeking their first IDs have already been registered. The allocation of three days at the temporary accommodation sites has been designated for identifying those in need of IDs, with the process set to continue at another site in the Rubavu district.

Celine Uwineza, a resident currently residing in the Rugerero temporary accommodation site, shared her personal experience of the floods. She recounted the harrowing night when she realized her house was submerged and the urgency with which she had to ensure the safety of her child. Fleeing without saving any documents, including her ID, she expressed gratitude for the government’s organization of the reissuance of IDs, recognizing their vital role in daily life. Uwineza acknowledged that without this initiative, obtaining new IDs would have been a lengthy and challenging process.

In a welcome announcement, officials have declared that flood victims in need of replacement IDs will not be required to pay any fees. This gesture aims to alleviate the financial burden faced by those already affected by the devastation.

The loss of land titles has added another layer of complexity to the situation. Velonise Yamfashije, who lost her ID and land titles during the floods, described the moment her house collapsed and all important documents were swept away. She expressed her concerns about obtaining a new ID but mentioned that efforts are underway to assist in obtaining new land titles.

Rodrigue Uwumucyo, who lost his Laissez-Passer and driving license, highlighted the challenges he faced in finding employment due to the absence of these documents. Uwumucyo expressed the need for support in obtaining these crucial documents to pursue employment opportunities, especially cross-border travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Assuring affected individuals, Martin Habimana, a specialist from the Rubavu District Council, confirmed that support would be provided to obtain replacement official documents, including IDs. He cited the example of providing a three-month rent fee through mobile money transfer to those not accommodated in the temporary facilities. Habimana further emphasized the significance of IDs and travel documents like Laissez-Passer for engaging in various income-generating activities. He reassured flood victims that assistance would also be available at the migration office for those who lost their Laissez-Passer.

The proactive measures taken by NIDA and the government provide a glimmer of hope for those affected by the devastating floods. By streamlining the identification process and offering support for obtaining replacement documents, the authorities aim to help the impacted individuals restore their identities and regain access to essential services and opportunities.


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