Friday November 15 2013

Floods leave wetland developers in losses

A section of the Savannah Commodities factory in Industrial area submerged

A section of the Savannah Commodities factory in Industrial area submerged by flood after a recent heavy down pour in Kampala. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE 

By Stephen Otage

Kampala- Recent heavy rains have opened a war against wetland developers by flooding factories and warehouses.

Whenever there is a heavy down pour in the city, factories and warehouses situated on former wetlands in the industrial areas of Kampala become flooded because most of the drainage channels are silted, while the former natural water channels have been compacted with solid waste.

According to Mr Hannington Karuhanga, the managing director, Savannah Commodities, which is located on Lithuli Avenue, flooding has become common. He attributes the floods to land grabbers who have filled up an adjacent wetland with murram forcing the water to look for diversions, which end up in neighbouring factories.

Because of the frequency of the flooding, his company together with Uniliver in the neighbourhood, were forced to ask Kampala Capital City Authority to intervene because of the increasing costs of business.

Mr Alfred Mwangi, the general manager Savannah Commodities, said: “We buy coffee, beans sorghum, barley, maize from farmers we process, clean and pack them. Recently, we lost of shs.80million when rain soaked our goods.

He said at times, they could not access the factory and had to shift offices.
Mr Mwangi said flooding has increased the company’s insurance costs in the excess of $50,000 (about Shs126m) because the company handles between 10-15 per cent of Uganda’s coffee exports.

According to Unilever country manager George Inholo, they spend between Shs5m to Shs10 million to clean up their premises whenever it floods because of the construction of a shopping mall across.