One killed in Kasese floods

News and Press Release
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The floods, which first hit Kasese in May 2013, have also destroyed private and public property worth unspecified billions of shillings, including Kilembe Mines Hospital.

Five years after floods devastated Kasese, they have re-invaded the district, killing one person, almost drowning another in Karusandara subcounty and displacing about 8,000 others.

Nelson Kule, aged 35, of Nyabubare village is still missing after reportedly drowning when River Mubuku burst its banks and invaded about nine villages.

This follows torrential rains that have hit the Rwenzori Mountains.

“We are still searching for him but are doubtful,” the area LC3 chairman, Ezra Turyahebwa, told New Vision Friday, saying a woman resident also narrowly survived the angry floods.

“The river was carrying her downstream and pumping her with water when nearby residents rescued her,” Turyahebwa told New Vision yesterday.

He said by the time she was rescued, her belly was ballooned with water that the killer river had forced her to swallow as she was trying to fight her way out of the river as it tried to roll her downstream.

8,000 affected

Turyahebwa said the floods had displaced about 8,000 people mostly from the villages of Nyabubare, Kyankerere, Kikoga, Ngando, Businge, Mubuku II and Kanyatete.

“Most of their gardens are sub-merged and the toilets destroyed. We fear hunger and diseases like cholera may strike us,” he said.

The river, one of the many that originate from Kasese side of Mt Rwenzori, usually turns vicious when it bursts its banks and floods this lowland sub county during the rainy season and destroys crops, livestock and homes.

It was one of the other rivers, including Rwimi, Nyamwamba, Nyamughasani and Lhubiriha that have killed over 10 people.

The floods, which first hit Kasese in May 2013, have also destroyed private and public property worth unspecified billions of shillings, including Kilembe Mines Hospital.

The river usually empties huge amounts of water, debris including rolling boulders into various distributaries including River Nkoko, which in turn overruns various villages downstream.


To intervene in the disastrous river, save the Children embarked on US$50,000 pilot de-silting project, Disaster Response and Climate Change Adaptation programme to reduce vulnerability among the affected communities.

The intervention covers 8 km between the villages of Kabaka and Mubuku II and has since enabled about 500 households to engage in irrigation farming on 1,500 acres.

According to the LC3 chairman, the intervention area isn’t affected by the flooding.

“The idea of our intervention was to show that something is possible on other rivers that have been causing havoc in Kasese district,” says the project manager, Vian Musika.

He called on government and other partners to focus on des-silting critical flooding on other rivers to provide water access points to the communities and thus prevent river bank degradation and also provide sustainable livelihoods and ensure child survival, growth and development.

Musika says instead of giving people food, Save the Children was taming the river to ensure secure and sustainable farming and hence food security in the sub county.

The organisation has also constructed community gabions , a mini irrigation scheme and a community early warning system through public address system locally known as ebizindaalo, capable of covering the entire sub county.

Other interventions include bridges and sanitation facilities, including pit latrines, at schools.

To further the intervention, the agency recently borrowed an excavator to de-silt River Mubuku and regulate the River Nkoko water volumes in Kenyange village, where River Mubuku mostly bursts its banks to raid the communities.

Howver, the excavator, belonging to Mubuku Irrigation Scheme-based Basajja Kweyamba Farmers Association, fell off the river bank and plunged into the river where by press time on Friday it was still stuck in the river bed quagmire.

The Kasese district acting Engineer, George Kalende, said that efforts to pull out the excavator out of the river are on though much effort was required.

Spirits dampened

The sinking of the excavator has dampened the hopes of the residents, who, according to the area LC 3, Ezra Turyahebwa, are 16,000 in number.

Some said they had abandoned many of their farms because of the floods, which had impoverished them.

“In my parish, residents have abandoned over 300 acres of their land because of the river. When the excavator came we had hopes but now that it is grounded in the river, we don’t know our fate” said the Mubuku 2 LC 1 chairperson, Emmanuel Rwanika.

James Kobiriba, the LC2 chairperson Kanamba Parish, said that the community in his area was anxiously waiting for a time when residents would resume cultivating their estimated 10,000 acres, which they had abandoned due to the constant floods.

Joram Turyahika said he was only able to utilise only half of an acre out if his six acres, adding that the arrival of the tractor had raised his hopes.

Kate Kobusingye, the District Community Development Officer attached to the water department, said by arresting the floods, Save the Children was also helping in constructing roads in the flood-prone sub county.

The district chairman, Gideon Sanyu Ntabose expressed fear that the situation may culminate into water borne diseases following the stagnant waters and destroyed toilets.

The Kasese Secretary for Works and technical services, Elly Magwara advised parents and guardians of school-going children to escort their children to school as the district leadership finds a solution.

About Karusandara

Regarded as one of the food baskets of the district, the sub county has poor road network and only one secondary school and a Health centre III which are hard to access when the river cuts the residents off.

Ironically, the sub county also gets scorched during the dry season, exposing the population, their farms and their livestock to the pangs of hunger.