Kasese floods destroy property worth sh8b
By John Nzinjah and John Thawite
Property worth $3m (about Shs8b) has so far been destroyed in Kasese district following the onset floods in the area on May 1st.
The minister of defense, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, said although the damage is so big, it is still smaller than what occurred in Bududa about two years ago. Kiyonga made the remarks briefing the press on Tuesday at Kasese Social Services Hall about the management of the disaster.
"The country lost more human lives in Bududa than it has been in Kasese and the landslides were more catastrophic," Kiyonga said.
The minister said that according to a rapid assessment so far carried out about the destruction; at least 19 bridges had been washed away in various parts of the district. "Heavy trucks from Kampala to Kasese and eastern Congo should now use the Kampala-Mbarara route since the bridge across Mubuku River has been damaged.
"We have advised Hima cement factory to suspend transportation of their product," Kiyonga said. He said the floods had also damaged housing units especially in Bulembia Division, the Kilembe mines valley in Kasese Municipality.
He said Kilembe hospital had lost very expensive and modern medical equipment. He identified the worst affected sub-counties as Kyalumba, Kyondo, Bulembia, Nyamwamba, Maliba, Karusandara and Bwesumbu.
He added the most furious rivers were Nyamugansi, Mubuku, Nyamwamba and Rwimi, which he said, was threatening to wash away the bridges along the highway across the district.
"The floods have displaced thousands of people necessitating the authorities to establish two camps, one at Kasese primary School in Kasese town and another at Bugoye primary school.
Kiyonga, flanked by the district vice chairperson Taddeo Muhindo and the deputy Resident District Commissioner, Aminadabu Muhindo, Kiyonga hailed the world health orgnaisation, the Unicef, the Red Cross and the district local government for their quick response to the disaster.
He also commended the Kilembe Hospital staff for having stood by their patients who were admitted at the onset of the floods until all the patients were evacuated. "Fortunately, none of the patients who were evacuated has died. Soon the outpatient services will resume," Deputy RDC said.
Muhindo said the government and relief agencies had brought in food and non-food supplies, assuring the minister that the displaced persons would be catered for.
Earlier during a meeting with the hospital staff, the minister said that government would consider a resettlement package for them.
Kiyonga also advised the staff to compile a list of their lost property, especially their academia documents so that government would find means and ways of replacing the documents.
He was reacting to reports from the staff the valuables they had lost included household property, money and ATM cards among others. The Hospital Board of Governors chairperson, Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo of the Catholic Diocese of Kasese, told the meeting that as a church, they had contacted some fiends in and outside the country for assistance.
At the meeting the deputy medical superintendent, Dr Robert Tiondi, pledged to resume work as soon as essential facilities were restored. But Tiondi cautioned government against being theoretical in their promises.