BY ISAAC MUGERA –

The Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness and Management in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Musa Ecweru has travelled to assess the extent of damage caused by the heavy rains and floods that are ravaging the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo in Western Uganda.

Travelling along with the area MP, Hon. Robert Centenary and other officials from the OPM, Ecweru visited various spots where the banks of River Nyamwamba burst, destroying property worth millions of shillings including houses, crops and community facilities like schools and health centers.

Notable among badly devastated facilities is the Kilembe Mines Hospital where some wards were completely swept away by the floods.

Part of Kilembe Mines Hospital which was washed away by the floods in Kasese

According to Kasese District Vice Chairperson, Mr. Ntabose Gideon, who is also a member of the District Disaster Management team, the area has been experiencing heavy rains in the last few days and the area authorities anticipated disaster, although not to the magnitude that occurred.

He added that in addition to the Kilembe Mines Hospital damage, five (5) bridges, two (2) primary schools and several kilometers of road network have been destroyed.

Ntabose says that the last disaster of this kind was last experienced in 2013, where the Government responded with several interventions.

Ntabose suggested that Kilembe mines Hospital be relocated because of its vulnerable location on the banks of R. Nyamwamba, a proposal equally echoed by Minister Ecweru.

After visiting several places devastated by the floods, Minister Ecweru held a meeting with local leaders, partners and residents of Kasese to discuss the way forward.

During the meeting, Minister Ecweru promised several interventions that government would undertake to enable the affected people resume normal lives, but also to pursue lasting solutions to the river flooding problems in the area.

Minister Ecweru addressing members of the Press in Kasese

He promised that the OPM was already loading relief supplies including food and other home necessities on lorries to be delivered to the affected families. He also promised that the Ministries of Works and Transport, Water and Environment, Health and energy would send experts next week to support the district technical teams in handling the situation.

He appealed to the local authorities to ensure that people keep proper hygiene as a measure to keep diseases like cholera at bay in this terrible crisis.