By Moses Mulondo & Moses Walubiri
Cabinet has approved a request by the ministry for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees to allocate sh25b to reconstruct Kasese following damages caused by severe floods.
This was revealed by the minister for relief and disaster preparedness Musa Ecweru while responding to a report by the shadow minister for rehabilitation Odo Tayebwa presented to Parliament.
“The recovery plan was tabled before cabinet on July 16, 2014 and sh25b was approved. It will be used to de-silt the river and building water embankments,” Ecweru said.
The district has been hit by flooding twice in a span of a year after River Nyamwamba burst its banks leaving behind a trail of destruction.
Pupils of Bulembia Primary School in Kasese district find their way to school after their newly constructed Katiri-Kilembe was washed away by the floods. Photo/Abou Kisige
Ecweru explained that with the approved Kasese recovery development plan, the problem of floods would not resurface and displaced people would be settled back in their homes.
The Kasese floods caused wide destruction of houses, crops, and facilities such as bridges, roads, hospital, sewerage treatment unit and power lines and forcing people into temporary camps opened by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
Accompanied by ministers for works, defense, partners and district leaders, President Yoweri Museveni visited some of the affected areas in Kasese and directed the relevant ministries to ensure that the river is de-silting and the damaged infrastructure reconstructed.
The Kasese recovery development plan was crafted from a needs assessment study of the causes of floods in the area which was undertaken by a committee composed of technocrats from ministries of works, education, and water, Office of the Prime Minister, UNICEF, CARE, UNDP and Plan International.
Giving the findings of the MPs who went to assess the situation on ground, Odo Tayebwa said over 665 households in the sub counties of Bulembia, Nyamwamba, Karusamdara and Kyarumba were affected.
“In a week after the floods, the OPM was only able to provide 400 empty plastic jerricans and basins as compared to 2 excavators and hundreds of litres of fuel, tarpaulins, blankets and medical kits mobilized by private companies like Hima Cement and Tibeti Hima, Uganda Red Cross and UNICEF,” Tayebwa explained.
Tayebwa’s committee had recommended that government allocates sh29.1b to fund the Kasese post disaster reconstruction work.
Kigulu South MP Milton Muwuma suggested that government should purchase all the necessary equipment to use in disaster situations.
“During the Bududa landslides disaster, government hired a grader from a private individual. Government should have its own equipment like excavators and graders to help in such situations,” Muwuma elaborated.
Gulu woman MP Betty Ocan said, “Government should equip UPDF soldiers with skills to manage disasters like floods instead of deploying them in agriculture where they have no skills.”
Kasese woman MP said the people who died and the properties that were destroyed would have been saved if government had made the necessary interventions after the same disaster happened last year in the same month of May during which it happened this year.
Ecweru said his ministry has finalized drafting a hazard map for the whole country which they will use to issue early warnings to various parts of the country on disasters that are likely to befall them.
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