KAMPALA - Ugandan authorities say the death toll from a week of floods and mudslides has risen to 36 people and left thousands stranded after heavy rains swept across a mountainous region.
A week of heavy rains caused floods and mudslides in Eastern Uganda’s Bugisu and Bundibugyo regions near Rwenzori Mountain.
Authorities say the flooding has taken a toll with the loss of life and property, and with thousands more left stranded.
The Ugandan Red Cross’s Irene Nakasita says search and rescue operations in the regions are hampered as most roads have been washed away.
“And the decision has been taken to put up a transit shelter until the situation normalizes. So, most likely Bubukwang transit center is going to house close to 700 people who are displaced in Bundibugyo,” she said.
Meanwhile, Uganda’s State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Relief Musa Ecweru says there are concerns about water-borne disease outbreaks in flood-affected areas.
“Now, there’s a risk of contamination of water and if that is not handled well, then we are going to risk another phase of a challenge, an outbreak of cholera which will compound our humanitarian intervention,” he said.
Ecweru says the government has released $5.4 million for emergency drugs to treat water-borne diseases, inflatable boats, tarps, blankets, food, and repairing bridges.
Ugandan authorities say the flooding is expected to recede in January as the weather improves.
Scientists have long warned that rising ocean temperatures are making seasonal rains more severe and more frequent.
The United Nation’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) last week (Dec 4) said unusually heavy rainfall and flooding in East Africa has affected over 2.8 million people and left at least 280 dead.
UNOCHA said the unusually heavy rainfall was driven by the differences in sea surface temperature between western and eastern areas of the Indian Ocean.
The UN office said rains were expected to diminish in the weeks ahead but heavy rains would likely persist into December and intensify in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.