Uganda likely to experience floods due to heavy rains – Minister

Women wade through Lake Albert flood in Butyaba Sub-county, Buliisa District last year.

Environment State Minister, Betty Anywar, has warned of impending heavy rains saying they are likely to lead to severe flooding in the country.

Presenting a statement on World Meteorological Day celebrated on March 30, every year, Ms Anywar said that weather forecast reports indicate that from March to May this year, most parts of the country will experience heavy rains.

 “The coming rains as indicated will be characterised by floods, water logging, hail stones, landslides, lightning and high risks of malaria and cholera,” Ms Anywar said.

The minister said the reports should be an awakening call to government to prepare for the looming disasters in order to mitigate their effects.

However, she said her ministry is constrained financially, thus, calling for support from other relevant ministries.

“Severe budget cuts of Shs14b from our vote affected our activities. We have inadequate weather monitoring equipment and infrastructure”, she added.

Ms Jacqueline Amongin, the Ngora District Woman Member of Parliament (MP), said that the ministry should pass on the meteorological reports to farmers who she said hardly access the information.

“Farmers have limited access to meteorological information. So, I wonder which plan you have in place to inform them to enable them plan on how to deal with the coming rains,” Ms Amongin said.

She urged the ministry to put up infrastructure that will enable rain water harvesting and converting the deadly floods into water that would be useful in dry corridor districts.

The Kasanda North MP, Patrick Nsamba, criticised the manner in which government communicates weather reports saying it is generic information and does not benefit people.

“I expected to hear the minister say that according to information we have, this is going to happen in Central Uganda, this is going to happen in Western Uganda. For example, are the hailstones going to be in Karamoja alone?’ Mr Nsamba asked.

West Budama South MP, Jacob Oboth Oboth said over the years, weather reports have been released but implementation and enforcement of recommendations has been lacking.

“Tororo has since 1950s been known as the corridor of lightning, but you find schools without lightning arresters,” said Mr Oboth.

Manjiya County MP, John Baptist Nambeshe said he was disappointed hearing Ms Anywar announce a disastrous rainy season without stating the mitigation plans.

In her response, Ms Anywar reiterated that plans were underway to establish water reservoirs to help harvest the coming heavy rains and water in dry conditions and irrigation.

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