The Ministry of Relief, Disaster and Preparedness, and Refugees has revealed that the death toll resulting from the flooding in the Elgon sub-region has increased to 29.
This comes from heavy rains that hit the Bugisu and Sebei regions on July 30, 2022, forcing several rivers to burst their bunk leading to flooding and landslides in Mbale, Manafwa, Bulambuli, and Kapchorwa districts.
While addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Center Tuesday, Hillary Onek, the Disaster Preparedness Minister revealed that the number of fatalities has risen to 29 from the 23 that were previously recorded in Mbale.
He says 3 new cases were from Kapchorwa and Sironko districts respectively.
The minister added that up to 800 households have been affected by this disaster including an industrial park, 3 health centre IIIs, 14 bridges, 7 educational institutions, several hotels, and recreational facilities as well as agricultural installations.
While this area is prone to landslides and flooding because of its natural terrain, this is unique in a way that it has heavily affected the Mbale City divisions, which hasn’t been the case in the past.
The minister says that the continued environmental degradation in the area has led to this catastrophe. He cited the example of an industrial park that was built in a swamp, which used to serve as a water passage.
Over 250 acres of Bugema and Namatala swamps in Mbale city were turned into an industrial park, and along with Nasenyi, Kamonkholi, Musoto Masanda Doho, Busamaga Marare and Maluku wards.
He added that residents have also continued to settle on mountain slopes where they also carry out agricultural activities, which have destabilized the area making it vulnerable when the area receives heavy rains.
Onek says that to eliminate this, the cabinet had adopted a strategy that will see many people evacuate from swamps and other areas which are regarded as environmentally protected areas.
Currently, the government in collaboration with partners like the Uganda Red Cross Society is offering relief, taking care of emergencies as well as searching, rescuing, and retrieving bodies.