Uganda: Transport Mess As Floods Cut Off Road in Katakwi

5 September 2019

For the past four months, residents of Angisa Parish in Magoro Sub-county, Katakwi District, have been wading through a flooded road to access social services.

The floods, as a result of torrential rain, have submerged the main 10-kilometre murrum road that connects locals to Magoro Health Centre III and schools.

A journey which normally takes one hour now takes three while children use the water-logged road to catch mudfish. Cattle keepers also struggle to find pasture for their animals.

"We got used to this situation (flooding) when we returned to Angisa in 2007. Our leaders only visit Angisa during the dry season when the water has receded. Currently, we are left to fate," Ms Grace Imalingat, a mother of four children, says.

"I just crossed to Magoro a week ago to treat my children for malaria. We had to stay at Magoro Health Centre III to monitor how they respond to medication until today. I am worried they may fall sick again because I don't have mosquito nets," she adds.

Mr Stephen Abunyang, Ms Imalingat's husband, says they used to receive anti-malarial drugs at household level but it was no longer the case.

Mr Moses Oluka, the district health officer, says the malaria prevalence rate in the district stands at 52 per cent against the national 68 per cent, adding that the burden is more in areas surrounding Lake Bisina, which includes Angisa.

Ms Joyce Imailuk, 23, also had to cross through the flooded road to seek health services for her son.

"My son has fever. I had tried to use some local herbs but there is no change, so today I decided to brave the journey to Magoro in this water-logged road," Ms Imailuk says.

She says some expectant women forego antenatal services depending on the season.

Mr James Alemu Emongot, the sub-county chairperson, attributes the situation to land wrangles with Uganda Wildlife Authority.

"We are locked up in land wrangles with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). There is no nearby medical facility and school for people who returned to Angisa," Mr Emongot says. "As a sub-county, we are limited in resources to have some of the key issues addressed," he adds.

"The district cannot work on the road and so is the sub-county. It needs the help from the central government," he adds.

According to Mr Emongot, the parish has nearly 1,000 residents, whose livelihood depends on subsistence farming and cattle rearing.

In 2016, UWA displaced more than 500 people in Katakwi District who were said to have encroached on a gazzeted land. About 57 families were affected.

UWA denied any wrongdoing, saying they only evicted few families that had encroached on the game reserve land boundary.

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