By John B. Thawite
KASESE - Over 2,000 primary school pupils were on Friday evacuated from their classes as advancing flood waters from the ruthless River Nyamwamba threatened to sweep them away.
The pupils, from Kyanzuki, Bulembia, Katiri and Road Barrier primary schools, were forced to go back home as the water volumes in the river rose and advanced towards the schools.
Bulembia, no longer operating in its former structures which are precariously hanging by the banks of River Nyamwamba, was forced to occupy adjacent structures owned by Kilembe Mines Ltd.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided some tents to act as classes for some of the pupils, who number about 800, according to the Principal Schools Inspector, Ernest Thabugha.
The raging river waters destroyed the recently constructed foot bridge at Kyanzuki in Bulembia division, Kasese town, cutting off Kyanzuki from the rest of the district.
Huge boulders were rolled downstream, gigantic logs heaved and other forms of debris carried by the heavy rains in the Rwenzori Mountains.
The elevated area yet again saw torrential rains that have stalked the peaks of the Rwenzori since May 8, when the floods invaded Kasese for the second time in a span of one year, leaving behind a trail of destruction.
The school head of Road Barrier primary school, Pascal Kololo said they had to shut down school activity.
“We had no alternative but rather to temporarily close the school following the rising volumes of River Nyamwamba,” he said.
The District Education Officer, George Mainja, said the schools were closed temporarily as a precautionary measure.
And slowly, the area authorities and residents are settling into the belief that this may well be their way of life, and that they have only got to get used to it.
“It is going to be part of our life so we must adapt to the behaviour of the river. When we sense danger, we shall have to act as we did yesterday [Friday] to avoid taking any risks,” Mainja said on Saturday.