By: Senyonga Derrick

The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek has appealed to relevant authorities to prepare to deal with challenges that might be caused by the El Nino conditions forecasted to occur between now and December.

A recent forecast from the Uganda Meteorological Authority showed that the country was likely to experience “above normal or enhanced” rainfall (El Nino) between September and December. This, the authority said, is likely to cause disruptions to social and economic activities as well as loss of livelihoods.

The Minister said that heavy rains might be experienced until early next year and that people in areas that often experience natural calamities (floods and mudslides) such as Rwenzori, Elgon and parts of Central Uganda are most likely to be affected.

“The weather has already started to show signs with incidences of destruction reported in a number of districts,” Onek said. “The schools and public structures are likely to face lightening and devasting storms, rising water levels and floods that will make learning and going to school difficult yet this is the final term in our school calendar,”

The country, he added, could also experience outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera over this period.

“There might also be an increased risk of drowning as water levels in lakes and rivers go up,” the Minister said. “Parts of the population might be displaced,” he added.

Onek said the Office of the Prime Minister will continue to work with the Uganda National Meteorological Authority and partners like the Uganda Red Cross to monitor the situation, provide regular updates and respond appropriately.