The national risk atlas of Rwanda



Rwanda has experienced a growing number of disasters in recent years, including the 2011 landslides and the 2014 drought. This comprehensive disaster risk profile report finds that Rwanda is strongly susceptible to natural disasters and offers recommendations to ensure measures are in place to mitigate risk, and to enhance disaster risk assessment in the future.

The report focuses on five major natural hazards: droughts, floods, landslides, earthquakes and windstorms. It analyses and presents risk at national and local scale (i.e. district level).

It finds that Rwanda is highly prone to all five of the natural disasters the report focuses on. The physical vulnerability of assets varies across hazards, with high vulnerability to drought and landslides and moderate vulnerability to earthquakes and windstorms.

  • Drought: Districts within the Eastern province are highly likely to experience severe drought. The highlands of the Congo-Nile Ridge in the Western, Southern and Northern provinces are prone to landslide.
  • Floods: flood hazards are likely to occur in many different locations in the country, however due to data limitations only catchment analysis was possible in this study.
  • Earthquakes: Rwanda is located in a seismic zone and so the entire population faces exposure to ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’ earthquakes.
  • Windstorms: a geographic belt of the South West through the extreme North West of the country are prone to windstorms.
  • Landslides: 40% of the country’s population have a moderate to very high level of susceptibility to landslide; 43% of health facilities in the country face a high level of susceptibility to landslide.

Rwanda could incur huge economic losses from natural disasters given the high levels of exposure to hazards. The economic cost of assets vulnerable to landslide and earthquakes alone is estimated to be 100.3 billion Rwandan francs. Recommendations include:

  • Disaster management: develop national contingency plans, an early warning system and education materials for the general population.
  • Food security: develop region-specific agricultural insurance instruments and plan for types and timing of crop planting.
  • Urban development: update guidelines on basic housing construction and risk-proof laws and regulations.


MIDIMAR. (2015). The National Risk Atlas of Rwanda. Kigali: Rwandan Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs