Four killed in Kasese floods, scores stranded

from New Vision
Published on 02 May 2013 View Original

By John Thawite

At least four people are missing and feared dead in Kasese district after River Nyamwamba burst its banks, submerging several homes.

The floods have cut off the Kasese-Fort Portal Road, leaving many vehicles underwater and hundreds of people stranded.

Two of the victims drowned at Nyakasanga trading centre as they tried to wade through the flooded road while two others in Kilembe could not be traced.

By Wednesday afternoon a frantic search for the victims had been mounted by residents and local authorities.

Health workers at Kilembe Mines Hospital were forced to evacuate patients from several wards that were flooded.

Hospital staff desperately moved patients from the surgical, children and emergency wards, as well as from the nurses' quarters and medical stores.

The hospital's medical superintendent, Edward Wafula told the New Vision that the hospital had become a dangerous place. The hospital lies a few yards away from the river, along a hilly slope.

The floods resulted from a heavy downpour that started at 11:00am on Wednesday, forcing large torrents downstream to villages in low-lying areas.

Hundreds of people who had travelled to Hima town to attend the Labour Day celebrations could not make their way back because of the flooded road.

A strong tide hit a trailer Reg: number. UAL 466X while more than 50 vehicles on either side of the road were unable to make their way across the flooded road.

The two people who drowned had attempted to force their way through the water at about 3:00pm near a bridge. The first victim was swept away, gasping for breath as people watched helplessly. Attempting to rescue his colleague, the second victim also drowned.

Several houses in areas along the banks of River Nyamwamba were submerged, leaving their occupants stranded. Parts of the Nyakasanga Airfield and the neighbouring playfield were also cut off.

River Nyamwamba, which is fed by melting glaciers from the Rwenzori Mountains, is the main source of water for both agriculture and domestic, including the Mubuku Irrigation Scheme.