Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) ranger whose photos went viral as he saved a number of women and children from Bundibugyo floods recently has been given a medal at the 34th NRM Liberation Day celebrations in Ibanda District.
Hannington Agaba has also been promoted from a corporal to a lieutenant.
He was among the 95 people rewarded for their act of heroism the celebrations on Sunday.
Working as a community conservation ranger in Semiliki National Park, Agaba was in Bundibugyo when a heavy downpour led to floods and landslides, trapping several people.
The ranger abandoned his post to help distressed locals.
In December last month, Agaba was given Shs2 million from Arrow Security Group for his act of heroism.
Captain Mike Mukula, the NRM chairman for eastern Uganda, who is also the Chairman Arrow Security group handed Agaba the money thanking him for his braveness to rescue the people stuck in floods early on December 7, 2019.
“I was trained to serve. Patriotism guides me and all I care about is serving my country in whatever way. People have been calling, my phone is full of messages and am really thankful that the media took my gesture positively but that has not changed my character. I will keep conserving the environment, helping people and making Uganda better. That is what I stand for, not the ranks, not the publicity or media buzz about me,” Agaba told journalists recently.
Be that as it may, there was another unsung hero in Kirumya, a chapatti vendor who was also seen helping along with Agaba. John Kamara had to let go of everything including his merchandise to save lives
Together, dozens of lives were evacuated to safety and although property was destroyed by flooding water, no life was lost here in Kirumya where the two guardian angels were on duty.
At least 12 people have been confirmed dead and several others missing following floods that were triggered by heavy rains in Harugale in the western district of Bundibugyo.
Uganda Red Cross on Saturday said their search and rescue team was working with the military to rescue stranded people as rains continue to pound different parts of the country.
“Bundibugyo floods; so far 11 confirmed dead. Our teams are working with the Military police to manage the situation. Search and rescue efforts underway,” the humanitarian organization tweeted on Saturady. However, the death toll has risen with fears that more people were washed away by flash floods.
Mr Richard Gafabusa, the Member of Parliament for Bwamba County, in Bundibugyo District said that he had contacted the State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Relief, Mr Musa Ecweru about the disastrous situation in the district.
“He is currently in Mount Elgon region together with most of his technical staff, coordinating related disaster response. He has directed his office to dispatch food and non-food items for emergency relief this evening. This might arrive in Bundibugyo tomorrow [Sunday] in the morning or afternoon, Mr Richard Gafabusa said.
According to the MP, government has pledged to contribute Shs500,000 as burial expenses for those who died in the disaster.
“The information received so far from Red Cross is that 12 people have so been found dead. The burials should go on but the money will come next week,” Mr Gafabusa said on Saturday.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga who doubles as MP Bughendera County, Bundibugyo District also appealed for government’s quick response.
"We appeal to government, humanitarian agencies and men and women of goodwill to extend a helping hand," he said.
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) on Saturday also said FortPortal - Bundibugyo road had been cut off at Km 85 [after Bundibugyo town] towards Lamia border.
“For now, no alternative route to Lamia border. Our Fortportal team is already on ground unblocking culverts filled with stones from the hilly slopes,” the UNRA media relations manager Mr Allan Ssempebwa said.