Floods kill 4, displace over 1,500 people in western Uganda

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-5-3 10:40:13

Floods caused by torrential rains in the western Ugandan district of Kasese have displaced more than 1, 500 people and left four people dead and four others missing, a senior government official said here on Thursday.

Rose Nakabugo, the acting commissioner for disaster management at the Office of the Prime Minister, told reporters that the situation in the district is likely to worsen, noting that some villages on the slopes of Mount Ruwenzori had started experiencing landslides.

"The communities on the mountain slopes where landslide is taking place must be evacuated and settled in camps as the situation is being monitored," she said.

She said accessibility to some villages has been cut off while in some other areas bridges have been submerged by the floods, adding that the government has dispatched a team to provide emergency response services.

The Government has also dispatched the first line supplies of food, tents, water purification tablets and non food items.

"There is an urgent need for camping materials and tents taking into considerations of family needs," said Nakabugo.

Maj. Gen. Julius Oketta, the national coordinator of the Emergency Coordination and Operation Center, said some 300 military personnel have been dispatched to the district for search and rescue operations.

"We have set up a joint response center in Kasese. We are going to do a joint assessment and do a multi-sector response," he said.

The officials warned that other parts of the country are likely to face similar or worse situations especially those in mountainous and swampy areas.

The meteorological department forecasts that most parts of the country will receive above normal rains from March to May.

The Government early last month directed over 50,000 people living along the high-risk steep slopes of along Mount Elgon in the eastern part of the country to relocate to safer areas because of fear of disastrous landslides.

Landslides have killed hundreds of people along the slopes of Mount Elgon since 2010. The most disastrous landslide struck Nametsi in Bududa district claiming over 200 people in March 2010.

Another 29 perished in Bulambuli the following year while 18 people were buried in landslides at Bulucheke sub-county, Bududa district, in August last year.

Despite risks, persons residing in high-risk areas are hesitant to relocate to safer areas because of the fertility of the land and according some locals, the difficulty of staying with host families.

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