Floods paralyse Kampala traffic
By Mark Owor
KAMPALA'S low-lying areas Friday afternoon turned into a big lake following a downpour that lasted for over two hours. This is the second time floods batter the capital in one week.
Slums and wetlands in Kampala and its suburbs were most affected, with water gushing into people's houses and denying some people access to the main roads.
This forced residents in the most affected areas of Bwaise, Kalerwe, Kireka, Katwe and Ndeeba to wade through the water to drier ground.
In Kireka and Bwaise, residents resorted to scooping water out of their houses with buckets and basins.
On Entebbe Road, areas like Lufuka, Najjanankumbi, Namasuba and Zana were submerged. Within the city centre, Clock Tower and Kisenyi were most affected.
In Kawempe division, besides Bwaise and Kalerwe, some houses on the recently opened Northern Bypass were also flooded. The water, which rose up to knee level at some places, washed away people's property and forced hundreds to abandon their houses and businesses.
Hawkers in the city centre cashed in on the lengthy downpour by selling umbrellas at between sh3,500 and sh5,000. Schools and shops were closed for most of the day in the affected areas. Child Care Primary School in Kibe Zone in Kalerwe did not open for business as water filled its classrooms.
A study by British researcher Richard Taylor in Kalerwe and Bwaise indicates that incidents of cholera and floods are likely to go up with increased rainfall.
The report says floods contaminate the water in the spring water wells, which is the main source of water for Kalerwe residents. Over 60% of Kampala's population stays in slums.
Two people were killed in September after the motorcycle they were riding on was swept away by floods during an afternoon downpour. The victims,a bodaboda operator and a client Brenda Owomuntu, a cashier at Barclays Bank were riding in the rain on the Katwe-Kalitunsi road when the motorcycle was suddenly swept away.