What you need to know:
- Leaders raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and responsible land use practices to prevent future disasters.
Kasese District, over the past week, has been plunged into turmoil as heavy rains wreak havoc.
The two killed include Peregia Mbambu, a mother of nine, and Neckson Sindani Bwambale, 44.
Mbambu drowned while attempting to cross a flooded wooden bridge on River Nyamuruseghe, while Bwambale was swept away by River Nyamughasana.
Mr Mbaju Rwakyapa, Mbambu’s brother-in-law, said: “Upon receiving information about her disappearance, we initiated a search. We found her rosary first, and continued searching until we discovered her body about 10 kilometres downstream in Kaghorwe Village in Kyondo Sub-county.”
The most affected areas are Masule, Kakuka, Kanone, and Kyanzuki in Bulembia Division, as well as Misika, Kemihoko, and Kihara in Nyamwamba Division.
Kabirizi Primary School, which had just resumed classes for the third term, bore the force of the natural disaster on September 16. Mr Wilson Baluku, a teacher, said six classrooms had their roofs blown off.
He said they have resorted to makeshift classrooms and accommodation at Kabirizi Church of Uganda.
Mr Semu Bangahi, the chairperson of the School Management Committee, called for government intervention, adding that more than Shs40 million would be required to renovate the classrooms.
“We have taken measures and engaged with the Church, which provided us with space to accommodate one of the classes. Additionally, we have used a store to carry out another class. Due to the extent of the damage, two other classes will conduct their studies outdoors under the trees,” he said.
On September 9, residents of Kahedero I Cell in Muhokya Town Council, were rendered homeless after rain destroyed their houses and crop gardens.
The continuous heavy rains have raised concerns among Kasese district residents.
Mr Jerome Muhindo, a resident of Masule Village, lamented the destruction of his coffee plantation and other crops.
“I have suffered significant losses in my agricultural holdings. I had nearly an acre of coffee, but it had been destroyed. This is a devastating setback for my family as our livelihood largely depended on that plantation, many others in our community are also grappling with the loss of vital food crops, including cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes,” he said.
The Nyamwamba Division LCIII chairperson, Mr Pimako Kasereka, called for support from the district disaster committee.
“This is a very big disaster and as a division, we cannot do much. However, these people have had all their crops and other properties destroyed; they need urgent attention. I appeal to the district to come to the rescue of our people,” he said.
Transport has also been disrupted with River Nyamwamba cutting off Kasese Town from the Kilembe side.
Two community bridges have also been destroyed, one connecting Masule to Kyanzuki villages and the other linking Kyanzuki Town to Kilembe.
Ms Mariam Kabugho, a fish trader from Kemihoko, decried the high cost of transport, leading to losses in her business.
The Mayor of Kasese Municipality, Mr Chance Kahindo, asked residents to protect hills from cultivation, deforestation, and charcoal burning to prevent disasters.
“Sadly, some of our community members are even cutting down the few remaining trees on these slopes, with the logs often used for charcoal production,” he said.
On September 7 last year, 16 people died in Kasika Trading Centre and others were displaced due to landslides that rocked Kasese.
In 2021, government, through the Ministry of Water and Environment, received funding from the World Bank of Shs13 billion to implement measures to mitigate flood impacts.
These include river bank stabilisation, re-afforestation, desilting, coffee value chain development, and stone craft development, among others.
Additionally, last year government secured Shs17 billion from World Bank and the Ministry of Water and Environment contracted Ambitious Construction Company to desilt 5.4 kilometres of hotspot areas.
Early this month, Minister of State for Environment Beatrice Atim Anywar issued a warning to residents living in disaster-prone areas, including Kasese, urging them to relocate to safer places.