Uganda

River Mayanja flood victims yet to get relief aid

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By James Kabengwa

Tension among residents around River Mayanja in Wakiso District yesterday remained high as district officials declared that they had no funds to help those affected after the river burst its banks. The leaders also said there had been no response from government yet.

At least four major crossing points at Buloba Kikubampanga, Gobero-Kakiri-Masuliita, Kawanda-Kayunga and Bubale were completely swept away, hindering movement of residents.

By yesterday, residents had resorted to other longer routes to cross to their destinations.

At Bubale, at least six schools: Mende Kalema Secondary School, Imaam Nawawe Primary School, Victor Junior School, Younger Achievers, Mirembe Junior and Mende Primary School, most learners in the affected schools have missed their end of year exams because they could not access the learning centres “As a precautionary measure, we have asked parents to temporarily bring their children to our boarding section. Personally, I have to move at least seven more miles to reach home through an alternative route,” Ms Zulaika Kibirige, the head teacher of Mende Kalema SS, said yesterday.

The Wakiso District engineer, Mr Felix Mudaali, said the river burst its banks a result of heavy rains that weakened the drainage system at the bridges. “Embankments were washed away. Motorised and pedestrian movements is not possible now,” he said.

The Wakiso District Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Luke Lokuda, yesterday wrote to the Ministry of Works asking for its intervention. “The district doesn’t have resources to carry out emergency works. We, therefore, request your intervention,” Mr Lokuda wrote.

There had, however, not been any word from government on the disaster two days after it struck, a situation that Wakiso District chairperson Matiya Lwanga Bwanika criticised. “We don’t even have to ask for government intervention. What happened here should have attracted them to take action had they been sensitive about the citizens,” Mr Bwanika said.

River Mayanja that connect burst its banks after heavy rain on Saturday night, cutting off several villages in Busiro and Kyadondo counties.

At Bubale Bridge, papyrus was swept into the destroyed road as the river that was previously said to be only three metres wide, extended its boundaries to 40 metres.

Mr Fred Mutebi, who survived being washed away by the running water after the river burst its banks, told Daily Monitor that he survived death by a whisker. “I was carrying my sister Florence Nabadda and her child [on a motorcycle]. We had nearly crossed the bridge when running water swept us off. Each of one us was swept to a different direction but we miraculously got stuck on a moving papyrus. It was horrific,” Mutebi said yesterday.

He said the water swept them about five miles away from the bridge. “The last thing I heard was my sister wailing over her child. However, we met again the following day, all of us unhurt. She told me she got stuck a few metres from where we were swept,” Mutebi said.