More than 100,000 people have been affected by floods that hit Kasese District on Thursday destroying gardens, bridges, schools, houses and other properties.
Mr Asuman Baluku, a resident of Kisagazi Village, Nyamwamba Division, said his family is homeless.
The father of eight revealed that he received a phone call from his sister at around 2am on Thursday night asking him to move his children from the house after reports emerged that River Nyamwamba had flooded.
“I got stuck after dropping my children at the neighbours because the floods had already cut me off and swept off all my properties. I am now stranded with nothing to eat,” he said.
Mr Hamanda Kikundi, also a resident, said the floods swept away his garden of vegetables.
“I received a massage about floods but insisted that I must witness it. Several houses along River Nyamwamba banks have been swept away,” he said.
According to residents, the floods are due to the overflowing of major rivers from the Mt Rwenzori.
These include rivers Nyamughasana, Mubuku, Lhubiriha and Nyamwamba.
At Kilembe Hospital, the facility has been temporary closed as government moves in to relocate flood victims.
“We lost everything at the hospital. We found it wise to close and relocate our patients to neighbouring hospitals where they can get immediate treatment,” Dr Edward Wafula, the Kilembe Hospital Medical Superintendent, said.
Dr Wafula said all the 80 patients who were in critical condition have been transferred to Kagando Hospital and Kasese Health Centre III.
The State Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Mr Musa Ecweru, who was in Kasese on Thursday afternoon to assess the situation, said government will rehabilitate the hospital. Kilembe has always been a hot spot every time floods hit Kasese.
A tentative impact assessment by the district disaster committee that was presented to minister Ecweru indicates that a total of 123,800 people, most of them women and children from more than 24,760 households have been directly affected by the floods.
The most affected areas include Kilembe, Karambi, Bugoye, Maliba, Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town Council, Karusandara, Kyarumba, Mubuku Town Council and the three divisions of Kasese Municipality.
The Kasese chief administrative officer, Mr Winston Aggrey Muramira, said five bridges have collapsed while two schools and a hydropower plant have been destroyed.
“We have started recording the magnitude of the incident so that we notify line ministries about the destruction,” Mr Muramira said.
Mr Ecweru said he has ordered the dispatch of some relief items to Kasese.
“I want the engineers from Kampala to come here with the view of de-silting the hospital as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Kasese Municipality MP, Mr Robert Centenary, has appealed to government to also offer residents some relief as they are experiencing double vulnerability; floods and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Now, we are in a double vulnerability, a reason why the National Covid-19 task force should extend supplementary food items,” Mr Centenary said.
The Kasese District chairperson, Mr Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo, said more than 200 households have camped at various areas as they seek temporal refuge.
“Some residents have camped at Kyarumba Catholic Church in Kyarumba Town Council, Kaghema in Kyarumba Sub-county, Ibanda Primary School in Busongora North Constituency,” he said.
The Kasese Municipality Mayor, Mr Godfrey Baluku Kabbyanga, said they have selected some public institutions to act as temporary registration and settlement areas for the victims.