Saturday May 11 2013

Kasese floods separate boy from family

Regan Mumbere at the offices of Kasese Guide Radio as he searches for his relatives who were displaced by floods that hit Kasese District last week.

Regan Mumbere at the offices of Kasese Guide Radio as he searches for his relatives who were displaced by floods that hit Kasese District last week. PHOTO BY THEMBO KAHUNGU. 

By Thembo Kahungu Misairi


Ten-year-old Regan Mumbere was living happily with his family, enjoying the company of his brothers and sisters and comfort of their home until a fortnight ago when floods hit Kasese Town.

The unexpected flooding of River Nyamwamba, which flows from Mt Rwenzori downstream through Kilembe Sub-county where Mumbere and his family lived, forced him and other residents to flee the area. He was lucky to survive the water that swept hundreds of homes and left at least six people dead. The floods forced his family to flee in disarray. Their house, which was located in Kanyaruboga Cell, was swept away and what remains of the former permanent house, is rubble.

Not only have the floods left him homeless but he is also not sure of the direction the rest of the family took and he is uncertain whether his parents and siblings are alive. Mumbere, a son of Mr Zimonia Mbusa and Ms Betty Biira, is in a desperate search for his relatives but for the past one week, he has not registered any success. “I only remember my mother telling us to run when the water started coming. I saw her running with the other children but I do not know where they went,” he says.

The Primary One pupil at Kyanzuki Primary School, said his father, a farmer, was away from home by the time floods hit the area. He recalls that the floods hit his home as lunch was being served.
But their neighbours, a total of four households, were swept away and have all been confirmed dead.
“I do not know where they might be. May be they climbed the hills of Kyambogho,” he said.

Boda boda man rescues Mumbere
He crossed Katiri Bridge to access Kasese Town and was picked by a boda boda motorcyclist who saw him wandering around town. “We saw the boy around Kilembe Stage, he looked terrified because it was already dark and we stopped him. He told us he was looking for his family members,” Mr Bakoko, a boda boda cyclist, said.

Mr Bakoko helped Mumbere to move around the three local FM radio stations in Kasese to find out whether any of his parents came to announce the disappearance of their son. Unfortunately, his efforts have not yielded any fruits.

The Kasese Municipality Mayor, Mr Godfrey Kabbyanga, said there is no family that has contacted the authorities searching for Mumbere. He advised the boy to join the camp at Kasese Primary School that has been set up by the government and humanitarian agencies to accommodate the thousands of families that were displaced by floods. “We need to get the boy in the camp and use that chance to look for the whereabouts of his family,” Mr Kabbyanga said.