Storm ravages Mbale, leaves 1000 homeless
By Paul Watala
Over 1320 people in Namabasa parish in Nakaloke sub county, Mbale district were left homeless after torrential rains swept houses in the area. A total of 12 persons were injured and admitted at Tobin health Centre after the Saturday downpour.
The heavy rains combined with hailstorm started at 10pm and lasted less than an hour. The storm destroyed Munira and Good Samaritan primary schools and Namabasa Secondary School. Over 1700 students were stranded and are currently taking their classes under trees.
The storm also destroyed one mosque, two churches and one health Centre II in Doko Nsambya and all the stocked medicines were submerged in water.
Suleiman Mwikungu, a resident of Doko Nsambya cell is currently sheltering with his family of nine under a tree as his semi-permanent house collapsed and two of his children were injured.
Mwikungu narrated that the rains started when he was having supper with his family. "It blew off iron sheets from the bedroom pushing towards the living room. This gave us chance to run out but the two children who got injured were asleep and had not joined us for supper. That is why they were hit by the collapsing wall," Mwikungu said.
Rhoda Nandudu a resident of Namabasa two cell said her family slept out after the storm blew off their roof.
"In the morning we had to look for our beddings that were blown by wind and put them under the sunshine so that they can dry. We shall shelter with relatives until we repair the house," Nandudu said.
She said that food crops were also destroyed exposing their families to famine. She added that they are currently at the risk of contracting dangerous diseases like Cholera and other water bone diseases. Hussein Kadimba, the Nambasa LC 3 councilor appealed to the government through the ministry of disaster preparedness to come to the rescue of the affected families.
Gashomu Wambede the proprietor Tobin health Centre's and good Samaritan visited the affected families and offered free health services to all the injured people and pledged to extend food items to the families through the district disaster committee.
Uganda Red Cross Eastern region programme manager, Steven Wamokota, named four villages that were ravaged by heavy rains as, Namabasa zone 3, Namabasa zone 4, Doko Nsambya and Part of Kolonyi. He said that roofs of 220 houses were completely brown off by the hailstorm, crops of 387 households were destroyed on an estimate of 232.2 acres of land, adding that electricity line of high voltage to Lira was brought down on the ground.
He said that the records after the assessment show that 12 people left injured, adding that some of them broke their legs and hands but no death was reported.
He attributed the catastrophe to massive cutting down of trees to burn bricks.
"There is completely nothing that can stop even little wind from damaging property and we are still scared it will do more damage in case it comes back," Wamokota said.
He said that Red Cross will be sending food and nonfood items to the affected families, adding that the most immediate help is food, tapelines for shelter, mosquito nets and water purifying tablets.