Kasese floods victims trapped, cry out for help

Emergencies don’t just affect people physically; they also affect them mentally and, emotionally. Trapped along the steep sides of the River Nyamwamba banks, with two siblings, Catherine Ninsiima tussles hard to protect her family from the physical dangers and fear from the scary outside within a rug tagged, polythene roofed house.

The river is flooding again, the temporary structures they live in are now laid in water, all beddings are wet, and angry are her children, hungry but with limited solutions for fending.

She now sells firewood, collected from trees brought down by the floods to feeds her siblings. 

“Whoever wants firewood is where we sell. People buy cheaply because they know we have no options, what we get is supposed to feed for the family and I,” Ninsiima says.

The situation correlates with all other victims’ situations, sleeping besides river Nyamwamba, currently living in camps at Kanyangeya Primary school. It is the seventh time the river is breaking its banks since 2013. All property for dwellers is lost, schools breaking away, hospitals demolished.

Affected children affected by the floods in the Camp (PHOTO BY GSA)

“All that can be seen when the river floods is water, some rocks and tree trunks being washed away by the strength of the flowing water,” narrates one of the victims of the flooding.

Schools such as Bulembia primary school, Kilembe and Royal ranges secondary schools, were washed away, others cannot be accessed after several roads and bridges were damaged.

Kanyangeya the other primary school is hosting more than 98 households. The institution lavatory services are now overwhelmed with such community

More than 20 people have since died during the flooding of River Nyamwamba alone, others were swept away by the flooding of other rivers with major landslides within the area. The district, with an approximate population 1 million people a mountainous area, housing the Rwenzori ranges.

This year alone more than 8 people were lost. Mudslides swept all the eight away to nearby rivers destroying all properties. The residents now live without schools, churches. The eroded health center was relocated to nearby St Michael Kindergarten day care and Catholic Community Youth hall.

The facilities lack standard water sources, mortuary, incinerator, placenta pit lavatories. They were not designed for a hospital.

“There is little or no hope for restoration of life, for the government hasn’t acted.” A victim says. With no food to eat, the dwellers now risk contracting neglected diseases. Many have severally been admitted at the temporary health facility with diahorrea and dysentery. 

MP Robert Centenary showing some of the flooded places (PHOTO BY GSA)

Malteser International has so far provided clean and safe water to avoid further contraction of water borne diseases. The organization has camped in the area since May 2020.

The men now lift stones eroded from Nyamwamba river for sale. “People constructing houses come and buy them and that is how we can earn. It takes about three days to have a trip of such stones before being loaded on a truck.” Says Kibonge, one of the flood victims. 

Currently Malteser International is training the residents on how to offer selves first aid especially in times when such crisis occurs. “It is now becoming annual that such things will occur and people need skills to help themselves.”

The residents also desire to be relocated from such dangerous spots.

Robert Centenary, the area Member of Parliament decries that even when Government offered bulldozers to remove the stones repair and upgrade the roads network that was all derailed by the floods, “we were not given fuel to run the machines.”

“Instead, Government gave MPs 20 million. Why didn’t they offer such money for fuel to help in the repairing of all these places for the community to live a better life?!” Centenary argues.

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