UGANDA: Gov’t Ecological Study On Mt. Rwenzori Remains Pending A Year Later

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The Inter Religious Council of Uganda visits Kilembe Hospital, one of the facilities affected by floods in Kasese District. Courtesy Photo/File

Kasese District officials are calling on the government to undertake an ecological study on Mountain Rwenzori, to establish a lasting solution for floods that have frequently caused havoc in the district. The government had promised to conduct the study earlier but has not done so, a year after strong floods hit the area.

The proposal followed floods that ravaged the district when major rivers including Nyamwamba and Nyamugasani burst their banks leaving at least eight people dead and hundreds displaced. Taddeo Muhindo, a member of the District Disaster Management Committee hopes that once the government establishes a study, the findings would enable both the district and development partners to plan better for any future eventualities.

Kasese Chief Administrative Officer-CAO Hamis Asuman Masereka says that the district has limited capacity to plan for any eventualities, yet all the documents that they have presented to the various government departments for action received no feedback. He says that concrete steps need to be taken before the rains intensify.

Buhuhira Sub County Chairperson Justus Asaba whose area was greatly devastated last year says it’s urgent that the government approves some of the local recommendations to enable proper planning. He says there is still a need to help families who lost their properties and gardens to re-start their lives again.

Reuben Mbautha, another member of the District Disaster Management Committee says there should be affirmative action from the government to tackle the flood issue in the region, adding that it’s unfortunate that even after a year, there is little that has been done to mitigate future disasters.

Susan Burungi, a staff of UNICEF challenges the government to make studies on the weather patterns in the region to establish the cause of the disasters. She also asked the government to establish seasonal de-silting of rivers in the district.

While in Kasese the Assistant Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness in the Office of the Prime Minister Gerald Menhya said he could not provide an answer when the government would establish the studies and permanently relocate the affected persons. Various groups have asked the government to establish a study on mountain Rwenzori.

During his visit to the district after the disaster, the Church of Uganda Archbishop, the Most Reverend Dr Steven Kaziimba Mugalu said the study will facilitate well-planned construction of infrastructure to avoid future destruction.

(URN)

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