Devastating floods displace scores in Kalungu

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Devastating floods displace scores in Kalungu
Children pack a few households to flee a flood home | Zainab Ssengendo

Three villages in Kalungu's Lukaya Town Council have been ravaged by severe floods, which affected over 70 residents.

The calamity, triggered by relentless rainfall, has resulted in homes in the villages of Lutente, Central Ward and Kawanda crumbling and possessions being swept away, leaving the affected communities in a state of despair.

Eyewitness accounts paint a harrowing picture of the disaster, with floodwaters mercilessly engulfing homes and properties, leaving behind a scene of chaos and devastation.

Families were forced to flee to higher altitudes, clutching onto whatever belongings they could salvage, as the relentless torrent threatened to consume everything in its path.

“All our properties were swept away and we have no where to stay because some houses collapsed and others are in a dangerous state,” Residents said.

These have called upon authorities for quick response of water in their homes.

Lutente village chairperson Erias Ssempuungu said at his village only over 35 homes have been affected, with seven houses and 10 pit-latrines collapsing, while several houses that were still standing were in bad condition with cracks.

“So, when there is no immediate action to this water, they are also going to collapse,” he said.

Speaking on the situation, area representative Francis Katabaazi Katongole expressed profound concern for the affected communities, pledging swift action to alleviate their suffering.

"Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by this tragedy. We are working tirelessly to provide them with the support they need during this difficult time," he stated.

The aftermath of the flooding presents a daunting challenge for the residents of Kalungu District, who now face the arduous task of rebuilding their lives from the ruins.

As they grapple with the loss of homes and livelihoods, they have called upon the government to stand with them in this situation where they are now even struggling to get food.

Every year during the rainy season, floods cut off Kalungu.

In 2023, the residents of Kamuwunga were left with nothing after floods cut off their area and the government promised to take action but all in vain.

At the beginning of April 2024, floods still cut off the same area but this time around it most affected the only school they have (Kamuwunga Primary School) and the school was closed but until now there is no action taken.

Yet more villages in the same town council have been added onto the dour statstics.

Locals blame the situation on sand miners and rice growers in Lwera wetlands, whom they said blocked all drainage channels.

On November 20, 2023, the executive director National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Dr Barirega Akankwasa, vowed an end to sand mining in Lwera.

Dr Barirega, who was launching the Yonja Uganda campaign in Greater Masaka, said Lwera was a key wetland.

But that all ended in a rhetoric even as his tough talk followed President Museveni's directive of August 2, 2021, on denying the serve of permits to individuals or companies that were practicing sand mining in Uganda’s wetlands.

Barirega emphasised that by then they were two companies that their permits were valid.

Now, Ugandans are waiting to see what the government and other stakeholders are going to do to combat flooding in most parts of the country.

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