Uganda

Uganda: Rains ravage southwestern districts

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Alfred Tumushabe & Otushabire Tibyangye

Isingiro - The torrential rains that have hit the southwestern districts have left thousands of locals staring hunger in the face following the destruction of their crops. The rains, which started in September, are also likely to force many of the residents to seek alternative accommodation since many homes have been destroyed.

In Isingiro and Mbarara districts, over 3,000 homes lost their gardens of beans, cassava, Irish potatoes and bananas in a series of stormy rains that hit Kabuyanda and Mwizi sub-counties.

Isingiro South Member of Parliament Alex Byarugaba (NRM) last Friday delivered 200 bags of maize flour and 100 bags of beans to the victims. "This is not enough but that is what we have managed to get. You will share it as it is," Mr Byarugaba told resident of Kanywamaizi Parish.

Residents said the lack of food is likely to interfere with the class attendance as pupils cannot go on empty stomachs. In Ntungamo; Kajara, Rushenyi and Ruhaama counties are the worst hit. Roads, bridges, houses and a school have been destroyed by the rains, which according to the minister of water and environment are not about to relent.

"Do not think that this region is safe from floods. You should prepare yourselves, so that when the disaster strikes, you can handle it," Ms Maria Mutagamba said during her visit to the region.

In Bwongyera and Kibatsi sub-counties, banana plantations, cassava, beans, potato gardens and livestock have not been spared by the torrential rains. Local leaders say many homes have been going without food until recently when the Disaster Preparedness Ministry intervened with 180 bags of maize flour and 80 of beans.

Delivering the relief items on Monday at Bwongyera Sub-county, area MP Steven Tashobya (NRM) called on the affected homes (about 800) to focus on increasing production. "Do not lament but focus on how to come out of this tragedy," he said.