MBALE —Sweeping floods in Mt Elgon sub-region have killed people and displaced over 5000 as heavy rains pounded the area.
River Nabuyonga and Namatala broke their banks and water levels rose, cutting off Mbale City; the
raging floods hit the City badly, with more than ten people already confirmed dead and people’s homes destroyed.
A combined force of locals armed with rudimentary tools and Uganda Red Cross Society went through the heavy mud in search of the dead bodies along River Nabuyonga and River Namatala as torrents of water submerged homes and uprooted trees.
And as appeared at the scene of Flooding River Nabuyonga, run offs also swept through an entire Mbale city reflecting poor drainage system.
A total of three bodies recovered from the floods in Nabuyonga river lie at Mbale main mortuary while five others were collected from Maluku, Mbale City suburb remained their homes.
A director of “Casa the Tourista” in Mbale Mr Saleh Naminya confirmed the deaths but added that although some bodies have been recovered, many others have been swept away to the lower parts of Mbale city and are yet to be recovered.
‘The heavy rainfall that lasted from 10 10.30 pm led to heavy flooding of Nabuyonga and Namatala rivers in Mbale city that have killed people, destroyed houses and people gardens in Mbale City.
Mr Rahman Madoi, a resident of Kikyafu cell in Mbale City said the heavy rains started as early as 11.00pm and pounded up to the morning of Sunday 31 July submerging peoples’ homes, killing Boda Boda riders and sweeping vehicle owners.
“A number of vehicles were swept by the flooding waters that had risen above the roads and the occupants suffocated to death and they are yet to be discovered by police. But the police search team is busy along the rivers to retrieve some of the bodies that have been swept,” said Mr Madoi.
A primary school [Islamic University in Uganda primary school] built in a wetland was not spared as the entire school was submerged.
“And if this had been a week day and during day time, all children would have perished and I think the City authorities should rethink this primary school and relocate it,” said Mr Madoi.
Reports from Red Cross indicate that the vehicle sub-merged, the Toyota Wish had four occupants and they were able to rescue two of them who sat in the front seat but that the ones who sat behind were swept away by the floods.
“And by the time we got the survivors out, the others had been swept away and we are yet to locate their bodies,” said a Red Cross source who asked for anonymity because she is not the spokesperson of the Red Cross.
Mr Rogers Taitika the Elgon region police spokesperson confirmed the floods have killed a number of people and added police were still busy trying to retrieve the bodies of the dead.
“We have so far retrieved some dead bodies and they are in the mortuary but efforts are still going on to recover more as the floods go down,” said Mr Taitika.
The Resident District Commissioner Mr Ahmad Washaki said the heavy rains that pounded the area for close to eight hours have not only caused mudslides in the hills but also led to flooding of Nabuyonga and Namatala rivers in Mbale City that killed a number of people.
He revealed that a number of vehicles like UBL 465I and another Toyota Wish and super custom were swept away with the occupants and remained stuck in the middle of Nabuyonga River.
“It is a sad day for us in Mbale, it is a sad one, we have lost a number of people and we are yet to establish the numbers and these floods have not also left the buildings of the people in town, itr is a very terrible situation,” said Mr Washaki.
In Kapchorwa Mr Joseph Cherukut says that the rains pounded throughout the night and flooded the Chebot River that left children killed, crops and animals swept and houses destroyed.
“We are yet to ascertain the number of children killed but we are still engaged along this river to find out the number that has been swept,” said Mr Cherukut.
In Bududa reports indicate that mudslides have swept through a number hills displacing people and destroying crops but there are no reports as yet about deaths.
In Wanale reports indicate that heavy stones were rolled from the hills that covered main roads killing off access and displacing people.
This comes barely two days after we reported that Drought and flooding in East Africa are displacing millions of people.
Mr Mohammed Abdiker, UN Migration Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, told the high-level inter-ministerial conference at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo on migration, environment, and Climate change drought and flooding were displacing thousands of people
This is the third time that floods are sweeping through Mbale City and killing people. In 1998, July 2007, 2017 August floods hit Mbale City going through people’s houses, destroying perimeter fences and displacing many.
By David Mafabi