Some hundreds of residents of the south western Uganda district of Kasese spent the night of Wednesday 6th May, 2020 in the cold after three rivers in the region burst their banks and exploded into the community.
Following days of heavy rains, Rivers Nyamwamba, Nyamughasani, and Mubuku went out of their normal flow and raided the communties, leaving unprecedented destruction along their paths.
Among the affected communities are Kilembe, Mubuku, Kyarumba, Kyanya, Ibanda, and some parts of Kasese Town (Acholi quarters, Mawa market, nyakasanga, Nyakatonzi).
In Kilembe for instance, an angry river Nyamwamba flooded and invaded among other places the Kilembe Hospital, causing destruction worth millions of shillings.
In 2013, when Kasese first experienced the flooding on a large scale and had property and lives lost, government’s intervention was the construction of new make shift bridges and stone walls along the rivers but as it turns out, they have all been useless.
“It is devastating, this water is more than what we’ve been seeing along the years. The authorities’ efforts to channel off the rivers and build stone walls haven’t helped because the contractor has never completed. We don’t know why.” Janet Biira, our source in Kasese intimated to us.
She says at the moment, they may spend nights in the dark because the floods have also affected some of the small HPP (Hydro Power Plants) in the areas that have been serving them.
The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has confirmed Ms Biira’s statement but says some were luckily not affected and as such, some communities still have power.
“For some good time the local government has been lobbying for water reserves or at least well-sized culverts in Kilembe to reduce water speeds. The old ones built by Canadian Miners about 35 years ago collapsed. Now rain water from the mountains just comes down and kills people, this problem is new because of negligence.” A resident in Kilembe told our reporter.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) in a statement, acknowledged the physical devastation and vowed to calculate risk for recovery,
“We intend to assess the extent of damage as water levels subside. Road users are advised to take precaution to avoid possible accidents.” UNRA said.
But still, no permanent solution has been promised. At least not yet.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RAY BWAMBALE