By Daniel Edyegu
FLOODS have displaced families in six districts in eastern Uganda. The affected districts are Bulambuli, Kween, Tororo, Butaleja, Bukedea and Amuria.
In Bunambutye sub-county, Bulambuli, the floods have displaced 24 families and ravaged the Sironko-Bulambuli-Nakapiripirit-Moroto road, cutting off communication along the route to Karamoja sub-region.
Ismail Wanyama, 32, of Buwala village said the floods knocked down his mud-and-wattle house, forcing him to relocate with his family to a relative’s home.
The biggest challenge is lack of food, as the floods have also destroyed plantations. Salvation Army Christians recently distributed food to the displaced persons in the sub-county, but it was also destroyed in the recent floods. Unfortunately, this year’s harvests were not good.
“We suffered severe drought before the floods came in. So even the families where some of us took refuge are facing food shortages,” Wanyama said.
At Bumasari parish, the water has stagnated on land and destroyed houses. Though the water has receded in some parts of the parish, the ground has remained soggy.
But like they say, every cloud has a silver lining. Some youth living in the areas along the Bulambuli-Nakapiripirit-Moroto road, Bulambuli-Nakapiripirit road have turned the tragedy into a fortune. Armed with spades, hoes and a plastic container, they charge motorists sh2,000 to sh3,000 before letting them cross the bad section of the road.
“When the floods damaged the road, we levelled the ground with our tools and made repairs to enable motorists cross. So we charge them a modest fee as a token of appreciation for our efforts,” said Juma Muyala, 26, from Tabaganyi village. He added: “There’s no alternative source of income for us because the floods destroyed our property and we need money to sustain our families.”
The youth block the road using thorny branches to deter motorists from crossing without paying.
Geoffrey Wambi, the Bunabutye LC3 chairperson, said: “Floods in Bumasare parish knocked down houses. We fear that if these rains continue, we might get an outbreak of water-borne diseases.”
since this water passes several areas before reaching here,” Khauka said.
In Bukedea district, the floods have receded in all the parishes of Malera and Kolir sub counties that were prior affected by the heavy rains. However, the ground is some lower areas has remained soggy following resumption of rains in the last two weeks back.
In Kolir sub county, gardens in Apopong parish are soggy and all crops including bean, cassava tubers, potatoes and cotton have been destroyed.
Amos Okiria, 60, from Adamacha-Alapata village in Kolir sub county said the short crops such as groundnuts, beans, cow, peas, cotton,reen grams and sweet potatoes rotted in the gardens.
“The waters submerged the short crops and stagnated on the land for a long time. Coincidentally, this happened when these crops were flowering. The cassava tubers have rotted underneath the ground. The mounds of sweet potatoes were washed away,” Okiria said.
Okiria explained that residents tried to dig shallow water tunnels along the boundary of their gardens to channel out the waters without much success. He added that in most huts in the homesteads, waters had continued to seep through the floor of mud and wattle huts in destrying household property.
“Most people have abandoned the place and resettled on drier areas. We can’t construct brick houses in this village. The brick soils get mashed and the huts subsequently collapse. Very few people, most of whom do not have money to buy land in other areas, have remained in the village,” Okiria said.
In Amuria district, the floods have affected Obalanga sub county and Katine parish in Abarillela sub county. In Obalanga sub county, sections of the Soroti-Amuria-Abim-Kotido road have been washed off creating difficulty in movement along the route. However, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has repaired some sections of the road to ease movement.
In Butaleja district, Jackie Namboga, the district information officer said floods had receded in the sub counties of Mazimasa, Himutu and parts of Butaleja town council.
“But in places that are located in swampy areas, the floods are still existent.The biggest problem is that the crops have rotted in the gardens. Most families have ressetttled,” Nankoma said.
According to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) September disaster response operation report, over 70000 people were affected by floods and related disasters countrywide. The report indicates that 35, 125 people were affected in Bulambuli while another 18525 people were affected by disastrous floods, landslides and hailstorm in eastern districts of Bukedea, Sironko, Butaleja, Pallisa, Kween, Mbale and Nakapiripirit.
In Central region, hailstorms affected 3540 people in the districts of Masaka, Lwengo and Mpigi while951 people in western Uganda suffered the effects of hailstorms in Mitooma and Buhwenju districts. In West Nile, floods affected 4610 in Nebbi and Moyo districts. Floods also affected 1, 820 in Ntoroko and 1, 111 in Kisoro district.
Floods hit Eastern Uganda