Uganda: Floods Displace 23,000 in West Nile

16 November 2020

More than 23,000 residents of Obongi District in West Nile have been displaced from their homes as the sub-region experiences severe flooding caused by rising River Nile waters.

The rising water levels of River Nile, which started in June, have left Obongi Landing Site and the neighbouring Obongi Town Council submerged.

By last Thursday, floods had submerged nearly half of Obongi Town, filling more than 100 homes, the town's main mosque, shops and primary schools.

The water has also cut off the road connecting Obongi to Moyo and Adjumani districts.

"Livestock such as cows, goats and chicken have died in the floods while very many remain stranded," Mr Taban Data, the Adjumani Resident District Commissioner (RDC), said at the weekend.

Area leaders and residents say they last experienced such flooding in 1964 when the then Obongi County suffered severe flooding, which submerged up to five kilometres of land from the original banks of River Nile.

The district authorities have warned of a potential rise in the water levels and asked residents in the low-lying areas to vacate.

"The water is claiming where exactly it used to be some years back and we have asked residents to leave that area because no one knows if the water levels may recede soon since the floods have persisted for long now," Mr Goffin Gore, the Obongi RDC, said at the weekend.

He added that people started settling on the banks of River Nile that are demarcated as wetlands without authorisation.

According to the district disaster management committee, 118 homesteads with nearly 380 people have been displaced by the floods.

Mr Gore said the district disaster management committee has petitioned the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), seeking its intervention. According to him, flood victims lack basic necessities such as food, clean water and accommodation.

Appeal

Ms Lilly Kareyo, the Obongi District chairperson, said the Shs13m supplementary budget that the district disaster committee approved to help the affected communities cannot cause an impact.

Liri Trading Centre, Namisambya Town East and Kilamin village neighbouring Obongi Landing Site as well as parts of Palorinya refugee settlement camp have been affected by the floods.

Data from the Adjumani District disaster management committee indicates that Okusijoni and Arinyapi sub-counties are worst hit while thousands of residents in Pakele and Dzaipi sub-counties struggle to cope with the floods after Tete River that drains into the Nile River burst its banks.

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