Uganda

Uncertainty as floods cut off schools

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Joselyne Nyangoma, the Hoima district natural resources officer, said the flood waters have brought with them crocodiles and hippopotami, which are a danger to residents.

HOIMA**- As the country gears up for the reopening of schools for finalists, pupils of Primary Seven at Toonya Primary School in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district, remain in uncertainty after their school was cut off by floods from Lake Albert.**

The floods, which began in early April, have moved inland by over a kilometre from the shore, paralysing the activities of the fishing community on several landing sites.Henry Katalibabo, the Toonya A LCI chairperson, told New Vision that 222 houses, accommodating 1,068 people, have been affecteVd.

"The water levels keep rising. We are worried of the likely destruction of our homes," he said. Katalibabo said some pupils will be required to board canoes twice before accessing the area designated to accommodate them.

Moses Kyaligonza, the Toonya Primary School headteacher, said when schools were closed in March, they had 450 pupils with 38 in Primary Seven. Kyaligonza said it would be better to have these children accommodated in one place for their safety because trekking daily from their homes is risky.

Accommodation for teachers is also a big challenge because the flooded school had eight staff quarters. The houses that would have been rented by the teachers have also been affected by floods.

Dr Fredrick Byenume, the Hoima district health inspector, said waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery are likely to result from the floods.

"There is no doubt that the water is contaminated with faecal matter because all the pit latrines are filled up by water," Byenume said. He said they are planning to distribute chlorine tablets to purify the water as one way of preventing waterborne diseases.Byenume appealed to the public to desist from open defecation to avoid further contamination of the water.He said both the school and Toonya Health Centre III have been declared unfit for human use.

Joselyne Nyangoma, the Hoima district natural resources officer, said the flood waters have brought with them crocodiles and hippopotami, which are a danger to residents.

"You need to be careful with your movements in these flood waters because crocodiles have now left the main lake and settled outside," she said.

Dr Charles Kajura, the chairperson of Hoima district disaster management committee, said they had asked parents and school management committees to agree on the best modalities to safeguard the children returning to school.