by Irene Amuron, Climate Centre, Kampala
Ugandan government agencies, including the Office of the Prime Minister, last week said they were joining the Ugandan Red Cross, the Climate Centre, the University of Reading’s Walker Institute and other partners in the specialist research project, National-scale impact-based forecasting of flood risk in Uganda (NIMFRU).
Through its National Coordination and Emergency and Operations Centre, the OPM will now lead the NIMFRU partnership, whose overarching goal is simply stated: “No loss of life or livelihoods due to flooding in Uganda.”
It aims to “develop a functional livelihood impact-based flood-forecasting system that delivers timely early warning and actionable information to deliver the right interventions to the right people at the right time.”
Other NIMFRU stakeholders include the Uganda met and hydrology services as well as Gulu and Makerere universities.
Inspired partly by German-supported forecast-based financing (FbF) pilots in the north-east of the country in 2015–16, NIMFRU also complements Reading’s FATHUM programme that aims to help the government hone flood warning in Uganda.
‘The Red Cross is one of our strong partners’
“We are excited to lead on the NIMFRU project and work with the various stakeholders to improve on flood early-warning,” said Emmanuel Oketcho, OPM Disaster Preparedness Officer, at a meeting of NIMFRU stakeholders last week hosted by the Office of the Prime Minister.
“The Red Cross is one of our strong partners,” he added, “and we are happy to work together on impact-based forecasting for floods.”
The country is currently experiencing heavy seasonal rains that caused flooding in some areas and, on 11 October, a landslide in eastern Bududa district that killed 54 people and left nearly 200 families homeless.
The Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management, Martin Owor, later called for a preparedness fund to mitigate disasters rather than releasing money only after they strike.
This was seen as reinforcing a July report by the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group that identified FbF as a potentially effective financing mechanism.
The NIMFRU stakeholders’ meeting discussed intensifying connections to FATHUM and the new Innovative Approaches to Response Preparedness project supported by the IKEA Foundation through the Netherlands Red Cross.
Uganda Red Cross volunteers help villagers clear away debris after the devastating landslide in Bududa last month. (Photo: URCS)