10 July 2018

Uganda: Rainfall Wreaks Havoc in Teso

Teso — Destruction caused by heavy rain has left thousands of gardens damaged, hundreds of families and some schools displaced in the low lying belts of Teso Sub-region.

According to the Bukedea District chairperson, Mr Moses Olemukan, two schools with a population of more than 1,000 pupils cannot easily be reached for emergencies as the roads connecting the area are cut off.

He also told Daily Monitor that several gardens of cassava in Angole, Kamutur, Malera and low lying belts of Kolir Sub-county were destroyed as a result of the stagnant water.

"You have entire gardens, which can't be salvaged, all the tubers are down, we hope to have mitigating solutions, especially in Acomai Parish for sizable valley dams this year," he said.

Acomai and Tokor primary schools have temporally halted teaching as swirls of water settle in classrooms and the compounds, making it hard for the pupils to attend classes.

Mr Olemukan said the decision to halt studies in the affected institutions was painfully taken by the administration and parents due to the state of the water logged structures, which are a danger to pupils.

"The entire Acomai and Tokor primary schools are completely under water, including the entire compound. The hygiene has been compromised as pit- latrines have caved in, which makes it hard to have children in such a setting," he said.

Mr Olemukan, who was leading officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, including the State minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Mr Musa Ecweru, on a fact-finding mission to establish the magnitude of the problem, said some families whose homes have been sub-merged have sought refuge in churches.

Excess waterlogging

Similarly in Kapelebyong County, Amuria District, excess waterlogging has left crops and the grass thatched houses in areas such as Okoboi, Kapelebyong, Odiding, Nyada, and Olobai parishes destroyed.

According to Ms Ketty Akol, the Kapelebyong Sub-county councillor, who doubles as speaker for Amuria District, the social-economic survival has been affected in 47 villages.

"Every time you receive a call from the constituents, it is a call from helpless people wanting assistance of Tarpaulins, but we don't have this at the district," she said. She said the hard-hit areas are those villages near streams.

The Kapelebyong Sub-county agriculture officer, Mr John William Ejiet, said the way to go is to have farmers turn to upland rice farming, arguing that waterlogging seems to be a recurring issue annually.

Mr Ecweru, while inspecting the affected areas in the Teso, said the sub-region continues to be susceptible to effects of waterlogging because it is a low lying belt where water from Bugisu and Karamoja settle in.

"This has been worsened by the fact that the water reservoirs that once held the water have been blocked," he said, adding that target programmes to have this mitigated will have to be looked into by government.

He said several teams from the OPM, Red Cross Uganda, and the UNHCR are also in Karamoja, Bugisu sub-regions to assess the impact left behind by the heavy rain.

He said an immediate response in form of relief aid, especially blankets, food, tarpaulins and tents for the displaced schools will be delivered soon.

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