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WE ARE STARVING! Rushenyi Constituency residents call for urgent relief response after disastrous rains  

Hundreds of acres of plantations have been destroyed

KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have called on Government to urgently intervene and provide relief to areas that have been affected by disasters.

Rushenyi County legislator Naome Kabasharira told Parliament heavy rains have destroyed crops before the harvesting period and hundreds of people are starving.

“The people of Rushenyi are crying to Government to intervene and provide them with food crops and emergency relief aid,” Kabasharira said, urging the Government to weigh in on the effects of heavy rains in the area that have caused starvation.

Kabasharira said this in reference to the hailstorm that recently wreaked havoc in areas of Rushenyi leaving farmers’ gardens and properties in devastation.

Kabasharira blamed the increasing disasters on the effects of climate change, saying that government should find ways of mitigating climate change.

“There is a need to go back to the drawing board. I have never seen what we are facing. In my constituency, we had never had floods. How long are we going to be like this,” she said.

Since late August, heavy rains characterized by hailstorms have destroyed acres of crop gardens in Rwemiriiro ward, Rubare Town Council, Kaina, Kyobwe, and Katooma wards in Rwentobo-Rwahi Town Council and Nyanga Parish Rubaare Sub County.

Hundreds of acres of plantations have been destroyed and an unknown number of livestock lost in the flooding.

Floods from the famous Kyanzaire Hill are threatening the existence of Rwentobo Town.

A one Andrew, a resident of Rwentobo-Rwahi Town Council Maramu says extraction from Kyanzaire Hill is the major cause of heavy floods that have washed away people’s property.

Residents and local leaders have asked the government to intervene.

Members were, however, riled that several times after the occurrence of a disaster, when approached, the Office of the Prime Minister says that it lacks the required funds.

However, the Minister of State for Finance (Planning), Amos Lugoloobi, explained that the response to disasters in the country has been affected by a huge budget deficit for disaster interventions.

He said that only Shs62 billion of the required Shs2.2 trillion is available for disaster-related responses in the financial year 2021/2022.

“As fate may have it, the disasters we have had this year have been very unprecedented. It is a challenge for all of us to ensure that we put aside so many of our priorities and commit this money towards solving disaster,” he said.

Lugoloobi also clarified that the fund for disaster response is not appropriated to the Office of the Prime Minister, but rather under Treasury Operations in the Ministry of Finance.

“The money is in a pool in the Ministry of Finance. If a disaster relates to a bridge, the Ministry of Works should apply for that money. If a disaster relates to food relief, the Ministry of Disaster should apply for that money because we cannot tell where the disaster will strike,” Lugoloobi said.

The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among has since directed the government to constitute a Disaster Preparedness Commission to promptly respond to disasters in the country.

“Government is mandated by the Constitution to constitute a Disaster Preparedness Commission. Prime Minister, empower the ministries, do not do all the work. Let us not take responsibilities of other ministries, you will break down,” Among said during the plenary sitting of Parliament on Tuesday, 5 October 2021.

Article 249 provides that there shall be a Disaster Preparedness and Management Commission for Uganda to deal with both natural and man-made disasters. In the article, Parliament is required to prescribe the composition, functions, and procedure for implementation of the functions of the commission.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has acknowledged the continuing threat from flooding and says relief is forthcoming to affected areas.

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