Wamara Mutabazi: Floods Devastate Uganda’s Schools | Guest Commentary
by James Wamara Mutabazi
Sep 30, 2007 | 396 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the world gets more and more concerned about the dangers of climate change, the effects are beginning to show and take toll on Uganda.

For the last two months the people in eastern and northern Uganda have been devastated by torrential rains that have brought massive floods. Metrological experts say more rain is expected for the next two to three months. Thousands of homes have been flooded and all farms destroyed as the floods have washed them away.

The people of the districts of Soroti, Kumi, Amuria, Katakwi, Kotido, Nakapiripiriti, Kapchorwa, Moroto, Sironko, Pader, Lira, Dokolo, Apach, Gulu Kitgum, Amolatar, Kaberamaido, and Oyam have experienced the worst times of their lives as they have been forced to abandoned their homes, with property worth billions destroyed, and lost loved ones [so far 47 people have been killed].

The worst hit among all this are the children, as more than half of the dead are children.

Over 170 schools have failed to open for the third and final term of the year due to the destruction of their schools by the floods while others can’t reach their schools as roads and bridges have been washed away.

Many children are now stranded as they are unable to go to school, yet some are in candidate classes.

The other danger facing the people especially the children in these areas is the possible outbreak of diseases such as cholera, dysentery and malaria.

All pit latrines have been flooded and destroyed leading to human waste floating all over the villages, drinking water sources have been contaminated or destroyed, which puts thousands of people at risk.

Another danger that now faces the people is famine since all the food they planted has been destroyed and the gardens washed away.

Despite having the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Relief, it has been found out by members of Parliament that the government of Uganda does not have a disaster policy in place.

This has shown that the ministry is just there in name but practically lacks the necessary capacity to help during disasters of the magnitude currently devastating the people of Uganda.

Though the World Food Programme is airlifting food and other necessities to the people, a lot more is still need to be done. The Red Cross has made an appeal for help and donations to assist the people.

Government through the office of the prime minister says that 120 billion shillings is needed to address the suffering and devastation brought by the floods.

The lack of logistics such as helicopters, boats, etc. are making the delivery of relief items very difficult.

The people in these areas have been devastated by war between the government and Rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army for the last 20 years with a big section of the population still living in internal displaced people’s camps which they have now been forced to abandon too by the floods.

The social and moral fabric has been destroyed in these IDP camps as children can’t go to school because their parents can’t afford paying for their school fees.

Alcohol and child prostitution is taking toll on the lives of the people in these areas, which in the end has contributed to the raise of HIV/AIDS infections.

The biggest casualty of all this climate change repercussions is children’s education.

James Wamara Mutabazi is the director of African Child Relief Agency based in Uganda.

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