Kampala- El-Nino rain currently ravaging the country have so far cost the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Shs57 billion in maintaining the road network across the country, the agency’s executive director, Ms Allen Kagina, has said.
Speaking at UNRA offices in Kampala on Wednesday, Ms Kagina said the agency has spent the said money in the last quarter to make roads passable as many were cut off by the rain that intensified late last month.
“Our maintenance budget is very small. This quarter alone, our budget was Shs95b, we did not get the Shs95b, we received Shs57b,” Ms Kagina told the press.
She added: “This is the amount of money we have used from July to date to pay maintenance contractors and for emergency responses.”
With 500 bridges under their docket across the country, Ms Kagina said, 120 need urgent repairs” while 20 others are in “critical conditions” since they are old and have not been maintained in the past due to inadequate funds.
“An adhoc taskforce is in place to monitor and derive intervention measures for critically affected roads.
“Emergency funds have been allocated to every station to immediately, where possible, reinstate sections where the roads have been rendered impassable,” Ms Kagina said. She said the El –Nino rain have taught them a lesson and in future, all black spots are going to be tarmacked.
The agency is looking at increasing 1000km of tarmac in the next three years since majority of the washed away roads are gravel.
El-Nino is a periodic climatic occurrence where waters of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean warm to trigger adverse consequences for global weather. It was first predicted to start in October and several safety advisories to people have since been issued.
The agency mandated to forecast weather, the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, has issued several advisories warning that the heaviest rain in 50 years are expected until early next year.
The advisories are meant to minimise the expected impact of El-Nino such as flooding, mudslides, outbreak of diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera and bilharzia.
Mubende – Kiboga road
Moyo- Obongi road
Mbarara- Isingiro-Murongo road
Rukungiri-Mitaano –Kanungu road
Soroti- Moroto road
Muyembe –Namalu road