Over 700 families face starvation as hailstorm wreaks havoc in Bunyangabu

A farmer in his beans and maize plantation that was destroyed by a hailstorm in Kadidimo village Bunyangabu District on Thursday evening. PHOTO | ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The Thursday evening downpour that lasted for close to three hours left several gardens of rice, beans, cassava, maize, vanilla, and banana plantations destroyed, raising concerns of potential food scarcity in the near future.

Over 700 households from four sub-counties of; Riwmi, Kisomoro, Kiyombya, and Kakyinga in Bunyangabu District are facing starvation after a heavy downpour accompanied by hailstorms ravaged their plantations and gardens.

The Thursday evening downpour that lasted for close to three hours left several gardens of rice, beans, cassava, maize, vanilla, and banana plantations destroyed, raising concerns of potential food scarcity in the near future.

Ms Tereza Tushabomwe, who owns about three acres of vanilla said they were all destroyed at the flowering stage and was expecting to harvest it early next year.

“Every season I have been harvesting four bags of vanilla and I would sell each bag at Shs4 million. I have made a loss of over Shs16 million now. My one acre of beans has also been destroyed,” she said.

Ms Tereza Tushabomwe in her vanilla plantation that was destroyed by a hailstorm in Karambi village, Bunyangabu District

Another farmer Ms Enid Twikirize, said the rain destroyed her new house that was near completion saying the roofing was blown off.

“My new permanent house was nearing completion. I had completed roofing but now the iron sheets were brown off, the engineer has told me that I will need to buy new iron sheets which will cost me over Shs5 million,” she said.

Mr Katabazi Ambrose, the Rwimi Sub County chairman, said five villages in his area were mostly affected and farmers who had acquired loans and invested in their gardens are counting losses.

“Our assessment from the affected villages shows that over 100 acres of the garden have been destroyed and our people have nothing to eat, our area is the food basket but now people are facing hunger,” he said.

Ms Enid Twikirize, with her iron sheets that were blown off from her house by a hailstorm

The Bunyangabu District chairman, Mr James Ategeka, said they don’t have any budget for disaster to help the affected persons saying that the ministry of disaster should come to their rescue.

“In a single week we have been sending over 200 trucks of matooke from our district but now the majority of the plantations have been destroyed. We don’t have money to help our people. We are appealing to the Prime Minister to send us relief food,” he said.

The residents said they will now resort to buying food from shops which are also expensive.

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