Butaleja — Torrential rain being experienced in several parts of eastern Uganda has caused floods which have damaged bridges and roads.
Leresi Bridge on Mbale- Butaleja Road has been damaged making transport along the route difficult.
The bridge on River Manafwa, which was constructed in 1960s, was submerged on Monday after a heavy down pour.
Commuters who use the road are stranded.
Motorists have been forced to divert to Bunghanji-Budaka District to connect to Mbale town.
The most affected sub counties are Himutu, Mazimasa, Kachonga and Butaleja town council.
District officials say the flood water that has wreaked havoc comes mainly from Mt Elgon region and ends up in Butaleja District due to its low altitude.
Ms Hadijja Namulwa, a resident said people who cannot swim have resorted to hiring men to carry them across flooded road sections.
"This has greatly affected us. We have suspended our businesses because of the current state of the road," she said, adding that it's costly for them to use Mbale-Budaka-Butaleja Road to transport merchandise.
Mr Hamid Were, another resident said vehicles carrying agricultural produce like rice and maize are stuck on the road.
He said some drivers have decided to park their vehicles while others have opted to use the longer routes via different villages to reach Mbale, Namutumba, Tororo and Budaka," he said.
Mr Paul Hirya, another affected resident, said school children are most affected.
"We can't travel at night because there are no people to help us navigate through the floods," Mr Hirya, said.
Butaleja Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr Alex Felix Majeme, confirmed that the bridge has been submerged.
"Floods have affected a number of things in the district including homes and rice stores," he said, adding that the district disaster committee is assessing the damage.
He said preliminary assessment indicates that food crops like maize, sorghum, millet, beans cassava and animals have been destroyed by the floods.
"After the assessment, we shall come up with a final decision. We know the affected people need immediate relief items like food, shelter and drugs," he said.
The Butaleja District Woman MP, Ms Milly Mugeni, said she has complained several times to President Museveni over the nature of the bridge that was constructed in the 1960s, but in vain.
"The floods have affected education, children are no longer going to school, some people have been drowned in the past and many families can't access health centres," Ms Mugeni, said.
Ms Mugeni, however, appeals to the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees to send relief items to the district.
The Bunyole East MP, Mr Moses Nagwomu Musamba said they have communicated to officials of Uganda National Roads Authority to solve the problem.
Butaleja District is prone to floods during rainy seasons.