By John Thawite
KASESE - Efforts are underway to tame River Nyamwamba which burst its banks due to flooding last week, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
At the request of the district leadership, Hima Cement Factory released its PC400 excavator to start re-channeling the river, starting upstream at Bulembia Primary School.
“We are determined to support the local communities to cope with this recurrent disaster from the floods. The district can use the excavator as long as it needs to address the problem,” Hima Cement’s plant manager Peter J. Robson told New Vision.
An Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (ACAO), Wilson Asaaba, said another excavator working on Mubuku Irrigation Scheme would be deployed to de-silt and redirect the river.
The river has since last year shifted from its original course during floods and as a result has destroyed public and domestic infrastructure along the river valley.
Eight people, including a former Kasese district procurement and disposal officer, Paddy Karusu, were killed during the May 2013 floods.
One year on, it has been déjà vu, with the forces of nature striking once again in the same spot.
Just last week – on Thursday – floods forced Kilembe Mines Hospital to evacuate 195 in-patients and transfer them to various health facilities in Kasese Municipality.
(PHOTOs by John Thawite)
This classroom block at Bulembia Primary School was not spared
The deserted Kilembe Mines Hospital has remained closed since the evacuation of in-patients
The fierce waters have left a huge wave of destruction in their wake
In the latest disaster, the river raided the Kilembe Mines administrative offices, causing extensive damage to the buildings and office documents and equipment.
Counting the costs
Part of the river has now developed along the road being constructed past the offices of Terrain Construction Company.
Five of the company’s office blocks have been badly hit, says Alex Byaruhanga, the Kilembe Mines chief account.
Housed in some of the damaged buildings were various copper samples, mining drills and the main water sedimentation pump.
Byaruhanga said the floods had also damaged the company’s heavy-duty transformer and the rest of the power supply system, paralyzing the entire Kilembe area, including the main hospital there.
The river floods destroyed two classroom blocks of Bulembia Primary School, and left others hanging dangerously over the river banks as more water continued digging in.
The effects of the floods are very clear, and many will be counting huge costs
A Kilembe Mines office block dangling over the ferocious river
The Police supplying water to Kilembe residents following a breakdown in water supply
Janet Muhindo, a Senior Four student of Mitandi Secondary School, lies at St. Paul's Health Centre IV after being evacuated from Kilembe Mines Hospital
Police had by the weekend moved in to supply water to the residents following the breakdown of the water supply in the area.
The electricity supply was cut off during the floods, disabling the water supply system, said Byaruhanga.
John Baluku, the western St John’s Ambulance Commissioner and disaster minister in the Rwenzururu Kingdom, expressed fear of a likely water-borne disease outbreak.
He said he was lobbying a standby ambulance from the St John’s Kampala office to handle possible emergencies.
“Now that Kilembe Hospital is not functioning, our health staff are scattered, we have to be prepared for any eventualities,” he said.