Famine looms as floods ravage gardens in eastern region

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Ms Jessica Kituyi, 41, shakes her head in despair every time she wades through flood waters in her house.

“I have tried to empty the water from my house, it is two days now but all in vain. The house is muddy and everything is soaked,” Ms Kituyi, a mother of five, says.

Carrying her eight-month-old baby on her back, Ms Kituyi cautiously walks through her flooded house looking for a mingling stick as she prepares a meal for her children.

The visibly hungry children sit patiently outside in a mango tree shade.

“They are hungry and have not eaten anything for the day. We spent the night at our neighbour’s home after the floods submerged our house,” she says, pointing at a neighbour’s house, which is a few metres away.

Ms Kituyi is among the hundreds of families whose houses are still submerged by flood following the incessant rainfall since the weekend.

More than 100 houses have collapsed, while others have developed cracks, mostly in the sub-counties of Bulegeni, Bukhalu, Muyembe, Bunalwele, Bugwanyi and Nabongo in Bulambuli District.

Other affected sub-counties are Bwihoge, Bunabutye, Bumufuni, and Bulambuli and Buyanga town councils.

Gardens of maize, millet, groundnuts and vegetables have also been destroyed by floods. It is also estimated that about 200 families have been displaced, with latrines and bridges destroyed.

Mr Fred Smiti, a resident of Nabongo Sub-county, says they are worried because the water has continued to trickle from the underground inside their houses, which has not been the case previously when the floods occurred. “Previously, the water used to dry up fast but now it is instead trickling from underground even after the rain has ceased,” he says.

Mr Wilson Mugole, the chairperson for Namulo Village in Butaleja District, says the floods have left them with nothing except their children and empty gardens.

“These are hard times for us because the floods washed away all crops in our gardens and even our household items including food,” he says.

The floods, which occurred last week in Butaleja and Tororo districts after River Manafwa and River Malaba burst their banks, have left one person dead. The deceased reportedly drowned in River Malaba.

The Bulambuli District chairperson, Mr Simon Peter Wonanzofu, says hunger is likely to strike as crops, and other food items have been destroyed.

“All crops have been destroyed and we project that famine is going to strike and it is likely to be worse because the scale of destruction is big,” he said.

He also expressed fears of possible outbreak of water-borne diseases as the downpour continues pounding the region.