It is yet another eye-opener that the escalating deforestation, wetland degradation, illegal or poorly-regulated mining and other activities choking biodiversity are triggering disasters due to climate change.
In western Uganda, 18 people have been confirmed dead between April 29 and May 4, 2023 as floods and mudslides ravage different parts of the region which has a population of over 13 million people.
Grassroots data collected by RISE NEWS UGANDA, 3 people died in Bwambara sub county Rukungiri district after River Rushaya burst its banks on April 29, 2023. Landslides killed 1 person, over 4 goats and destroyed property in Butera village Bughendero parish Buhurira sub county Kasese district following a heavy downpour during wee hours on May 1, and other damages.
In other areas, 8 people were killed by mudslides in Kisoro district on May 4, 2023 including 6 members of the same family in Biizi village and two from Gihuyaga in Murora sub-county – most of the victims being children and women. Mr. Abel Bizimana, the district LC 5 chairman attributed these disasters to climate change due to poor farming and soil management practices.
3 people were also killed by floods and mudslides in Rukiga and 2 in Rubanda districts, and other tragedies registered in parts of western Uganda.
TRANSPORT PARALYZED, AND OTHER COSTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. The Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA has already received UGX3 billion from the government, to urgently work on the Kabale-Kisoro road that was partly washed away at Hamurwa in Rubanda district, which has paralyzed transport and tourism.
In other areas like Kiruhura, Ntungamo, Mbarara, Kamwenge, Kitagwenda, Sheema, Buhweju, Bushenyi and other areas, some main roads and bridges were also washed away.
In Mbarara city, the LC 1 chairman for Kiyanja Cell Anthony Agaba has confirmed that the floods that hit them on May 2, 2023 destroyed 2 houses and other property. He attributed this to corruption and poor physical planning by authorities which has enabled encroachers to construct in restricted areas where they have blocked water channels.
The National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC is also struggling to provide safe and enough water to over 220,000 people in Mbarara city after its pipes and sewerage system were submerged by water, due to the encroachment and other activities choking River Rwizi. NWSC has been using sacks of sand to raise water levels at its collection centres along River Rwizi.
“That’s the situation. The problem is that the government doesn’t strictly enforce the environment/climate conservation laws. Government harassed the poor but connives with the rich,” locals on the disasters. Vox pops in Runyankore-Rukiga language.
At the national level, the Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Davinia Esther Anyakun has warned that they fear that parts of eastern Uganda could also face the same disasters soon, but the government is preparing for the situation. The Speaker of 11th Parliament, Rt Hon Anita Among has also tasked the government to establish a disaster commission besides other interventions. Speaker’s voice.
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority has now forecast that the torrential rains will end in the next 2 weeks, as Red Cross continues to provide rescue services to the affected areas. STORY BY AARON AINOMUGISHA.