By John B. Thawite
The Rwenzururu king has asked the government and other agencies to comprehensively research into the causes of the floods that have increasingly caused death and destruction in the Rwenzori region.
Five major rivers – Rwimi, Mubuku, Nyamwamba, Nyamugasani and Lhubiriha – have recently burst their banks, flooding neighbouring communities.
In the first week of May last year, the rivers flooded and as a result killed eight people. Several gardens and infrastructure valued at over sh35 billion were destroyed.
The worst-hit facilities included Kilembe Mines Hospital, in the former copper-mining Kilembe Mines valley, which stand next to River Nyamwamba.
In the latest incident on Thursday, the river burst its banks again, causing a stampede at the hospital.
During the evacuation of some195 in-patients, a 77-year-old woman who had been admitted with acute malaria but was due for discharge that day was trampled to death in one of the wards as she was trying to flee for safety.
Two babies in the intensive care also died as the health delivery system, including electricity, collapsed.
Some of the Kilembe residents take refuge on the hills overlooking their flooded homes. PHOTO/John Thawite
In a press statement, King Charles Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma, said: “My family and I are deeply touched and extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to all who were affected by yesterday’s floods in Kasese,” he said.
He regretted the incident but quickly called on the central and local governments to intervene and mitigate further disasters in the area.
“As government plans to intervene, we as a cultural institution will also lay other mitigation measures such that similar situations do not occur again,” said the cultural leader.
Mumbere asked all people to continue planting trees on hills, dig contours to conserve the soils, cover the soils during cultivation to avoid landslides and erosion of the soils by flowing waters.
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Kasese floods: Rwenzururu King petitions gov’t