Heavy Rains Render Over 100 Residents Homeless in Bukomansimbi

Bukomansimbi District | The Black Examiner – After a torrential downpour on Thursday night, over 100 residents from five communities within Bukomansimbi District find themselves homeless. Rain accompanied by heavy winds wreaked havoc, sweeping away their homes and destroying their gardens, including the food they had grown. The affected villages include Kyanakibi, Kabulunga, Kyango, Bukomansimbi Town Council, and Gayaza.

The rain began at 9:00 p.m. and lasted approximately 20 minutes, causing substantial damage. It not only tore off roofs but also ravaged crops.

In the wake of this disaster, local authorities are urging the government to provide immediate assistance and relief to those affected.

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This incident occurred shortly after the Ugandan government, through the Ministry of Environment, released a forecast predicting above-average rainfall for September. The Prime Minister’s Office had allocated a contingency fund of Shs120 billion to deal with natural calamities during the rainy season.

Minister Beatrice Atim Anywar, the Minister of State for Environment, spoke at the Uganda media center, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures based on this forecast. She highlighted that September to December constitutes the second main rainy season in most parts of Uganda, with rainfall expected to exceed normal levels in various regions.

She stressed, “Total rainfall in these regions is projected to be above 125% of the long-term mean, indicating a significant impact on socio-economic activities, albeit mostly slightly above average.”

Furthermore, Anywar urged all stakeholders engaged in rain-fed economic activities to incorporate this rainfall forecast into their planning and decision-making processes to enhance economic well-being and living standards in their communities.

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The Uganda National Meteorological Authority will closely monitor weather patterns and provide regular updates and alerts. Anywar encouraged the public to make use of these daily, weekly, and monthly updates.

It’s important to note that as the season progresses, regional and monthly variations may occur, potentially leading to flash floods, landslides in hilly areas, lightning, and strong gusts. To mitigate these risks, the minister advocated for appropriate precautions, including relocating residents from flood-prone areas, constructing flood-resistant homes, and implementing effective drainage systems.

Additionally, she called for the installation of lightning conductors or arrestors on all structures and advised teachers to ensure students’ safety during thunderstorms. The public was urged to wear rubber shoes and avoid metallic objects during lightning storms.

With predictions of rising water levels in rivers, lakes, and dams due to increased precipitation, Minister Anywar urged the energy industry to plan for efficient power production and distribution. Soil and water conservation techniques like trenches, soil bunds, terracing, and mulching should be promoted to prevent soil erosion and downstream flooding.

Localized flooding, especially in Kampala and its metropolitan areas, may result from intense rainfall events. Increased disease surveillance is essential to respond to diseases like malaria, cholera, bilharzia, and typhoid, as well as respiratory illnesses and allergies associated with humid conditions and flowering plants.

Health authorities were advised to maintain vigilance and ensure hospitals are well-equipped to handle potential disease-related emergencies.

Minister Anywar emphasized that Uganda’s second significant rainy season spans from September to December.

Influencing these climate conditions are the development of El Niño conditions in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, expected to persist throughout the forecast period (September to December 2023), as well as the anticipated positive shift of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) during this time.

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The Ministry has established El Niño contingency funds to address and respond to various catastrophes, according to Solomon Elungat, the senior disaster preparedness officer at the Office of the Prime Minister.

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