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Floods paralyse city businessesPublish Date: Jun 10, 2014
Floods paralyse city businesses
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Vehicles wade through the floods at Kyambogo junction. Photo by Ayiga Ondoga
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By Jeff Andrew Lule

Floods on Monday morning paralysed businesses are traffic in an early morning downpour. 

The downpour that started at round 8:00am lasted over three hours.

In areas visited by the New Vision team yesterday, vehicles were found abandoned in the middle of the flooded roads.

Along the Kampala-Jinja road, floods cut off the road at Kyambogo junction. Vehicles got stuck as other alternative routes of Kinawataka and Bugolobi were also flooded.

Jinja Road was a nightmare after during and after the downpour. Photos/Ayiga Ondoga

Pedestrians, especially Kyambogo University students paid between sh1,500 and sh3,000 to be carried from the flooded part of the road to a safer area.

Cars from Kampala were forced to use Ntinda route through the Northern By-pass to reach Kireka. Some men and boda boda riders made quick money rescuing those who were stuck.

Drivers and passengers attributed the flooding to the poor drainage system on the city roads and the reclamation of wetlands by industrialists.

Musese Katabarwa, a businessman from Jinja, said the Government needs to reclaim all the wetlands, which were taken over by the investors.

“This problem is as a result of water blockage by these structures or factories. Many people have encroached on wetland thus blocking the water passage. The Government needs to do something to put everything back to order, including fighting corruption to avoid substandard works on roads,” he said.

In other Kampala suburbs like Kyebando, Bwaise, Kalerwe, Wankulukuku and Ndeeba some houses were submerged in water. Water rose to above knee level in some areas.

In Kyebando, Kawempe division, residents claimed the newly constructed water channel was now filled with silt causing it to flood to the neighbouring areas.

A truck wades through the floods. The road became impassable for most vehicles

The Nakivubo Wetland corridor that drains storm water from various parts of Kampala has been degraded and environment experts are warning that Kampala is paying the price for this encroachment.

When contacted, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) spokesperson, Naome Karekaho said the floods are caused by lack of standard drainage systems and lack of trees in Kyambogo area.

“The wetlands in the area were sold longtime ago before the Environment (NEMA) Act 1994 came into place.

“Many structures have come up. The problem is that besides the poor drainage system, people have not planted trees. That is why water flashes out whenever it rains, but it is not the problem of NEMA as people claim,” she said.

Karekaho said there is need for construction of an expanded drainage system given the increasing population in the city and encouraging people to plant trees.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango said no lives were lost, but many people in Kalerwe, Namuwongo, Namungoona, Bwaise, Nalukolongo, and Kinawataka lost property worth millions of shillings.

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