Butaleja flood victims blame government over delayed response

Sunday October 20 2019

Residents have been left stranded as many roads

Residents have been left stranded as many roads are cut off. COURTESY PHOTOS  

By YAHUDU KITUNZI

Residents affected by floods in Butaleja District in eastern Uganda have blamed government over delayed relief response.
According to local authorities, hundreds of people have been displaced and gardens washed away by floods that have ravaged the district following heavy rains.

When this reporter visited the affected areas in Himutu, Mazimasa, Kachonga sub counties and Butaleja Town council, he found most affected residents taking shelter in schools and churches.
They told the reporter that they had not received any government assistance since Friday.
The floods were worsened when River Manafwa burst its banks.


Transport has also been paralyzed as most roads were cut off by the floods.

Ms Hellen Namuhaini, a resident of Doho, said her house was submerged and household items such as beddings, clothes, domestic birds and animals washed away by the flood water.
"The floods, triggered by heavy rains that have been pounding Mt Elgon Sub-region for the last two weeks, also destroyed our gardens and livestock," said Ms Namuhaini.

Some of the victims had taken refuge at their relatives’ homes as others were wandering without shelter, food or clothing.


Mr Abdu Maliki, the LCI chairperson for Muhuyu village, Mazimasa Sub County said they feel helpless.
"We are suffering a lot in floods without any help. We appeal to government to come to our rescue," said Maliki.
Mr Wilson Mugole, the LC1 chairperson for Namulo village, said residents were wondering why government had taken long to respond to their plight.

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"We fear that cholera might break out in our areas because most of the toilets were washed away by floods and now people are defecating in the same water,” said Mr Mugole.
The Butaleja District Information Officer, Ms Jackline Nakoma said the district disaster committee is still assessing the situation to ascertain the exact damage and people affected.

"After assessment, we shall take the report to Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). I know they will be helped," said Ms Nakoma.


The Butaleja CAO, Mr Alex Majene also said the district disaster Committee shall meet and write a report showing the extent of the disaster and appeal for government help.
Bunyole East MP Moses Nagwomu Musamba said floods have greatly affected the district.
“Even Leresi Bridge has been washed away by the floods. I have started assessing the situation to see how affected people will be helped. I will write a report to OPM," he said.
The RDC Butaleja, Mr Jimmy Ebil Segawa said he already reported the problem of floods to OPM.

"We have organised a thorough assessment tomorrow Monday to get the exact number of affected people. Our preliminary assessment indicates that a number of toilets have been washed away or collapsed,” he said.
The Uganda Red cross Society spokesperson Irene Nakasiita, said an assessment conducted by the humanitarian movement shows that many houses are submerged in water and Lelesi Bridge almost washed away as many roads are cut off.


“Butaleja alone has 650 households affected. So tonight we shall have some people sleeping outside and in the neighbourhoods,” Ms Nakasiita said.

The commissioner disaster preparedness in the office of the Prime Minister Martin Owor on Saturday observed that this was not the first time the area was experiencing floods.
He added that government had alerted the affected people.
“Yes there are floods, and some houses have collapsed but we mapped all these areas and alerted everybody,” Commissioner Owor said on Saturday.
He said government intends to extend relief to those communities affected on Monday tomorrow.

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