At Kisagazi village, the damage of the splash floods can be smelt, heard, and visibly seen. The bare washed up gardens of empty bodied houses and tripled down trees leaves you in panic that the horrible nightmare could return any day, any hour.
The bird’s no longer chirp in the trees, because the trees that would harbor them are forever gone. The village seems so empty and abandoned, slowly transitioning into a ghost town. This was once a place littered with playing children, joyful families, flourishing gardens and peaceful homesteads.
The roads that lead you to the place where emptiness now lives are barely impassable. The floods left no beauty, and they took with them everything including some of the settlers of this land.
But not all hope is lost yet. Mr.Asuman Baluku, a father to 4 beautiful girls and four promising young men has braved the waves and stayed to keep the history truly alive for his offsprings. The scotching sun has nothing on him, the soil is hard but they have got to feed and thus there is no excuse.
Mr. Christopher Mugabe, a resident of Kisagazi village, Nyamwamba Division said his family is homeless because of the catastrophe that befell their village but he is hopeful and appears masculine strong for a man of his age.
The father of eight revealed that he received a phone call from his sister at around 2am asking him to remove his children from the house after reports emerged that river Nyamwamba had flooded.
“I was confused at that time and didn’t know what to do exactly, I adhered to my sister’s request and dropped the children but then I was now stuck since the floods had already cut me off and swept all of my properties. I managed to maneuver through the strong floods using strong logs as support and crossed through," he narrated.
"When the floods stopped I returned to the village since I couldn’t afford living with my in-laws as they had an equally smaller house to accommodate sixteen people including my brothers-in-law’s children.
I have managed to build a mud house for my family with the help of some village mates that also stayed behind. Although we did not return to our original land, we are still in Kisagazi village where our grandfathers were born" Mr. Mugabe concluded.
Photo Credits: soot.net
"When we thought it was all over, then we heard over the radio that there is a new deadly disease in the country. We never took it that serious because we were still recovering from the wash of our land. Until the priest at the sub-parish church announced that there will be no more praying in the church until the president gives permission for churches to open again", Mr. Baluku informed me.
“To us church was more like a comforting haven; we would sing praise hymns, meet people and interact with others that migrated to other villages. We would leave with lots of hope for tomorrow, with the bible promising that after a tough life on earth, heaven us waiting. I somehow found solace in this, He said.
COVID-19 has affected everybody in the world and no country had adequately prepared to fight the pandemic, Father Mushabe went on to warn us.
Other countries may have withered it but it has been a harder battle for the Pearl of Africa, confronting Climate Change while Covid-19 keeps rising the infections bar higher.
"This is the second time in 7 years our River Nyamwamba burst its banks, destroying our people’s property, displacing and killing a number of Bakonjo (a tribe of settlers who live around R.Nyamwamba) and others who migrated here."
The floods which happened at the end of May 2020 found the government of Uganda fighting tooth and nail trying all means to reduce on the Corona Virus infections in the country which have now passed the 700 mark .
A tentative impact assessment done by the district committee of Kasese indicates that a total of 123,800 people most of them women and children from more than 24,760 households were affected by the floods.
National Environment Management Authority conducted an assessment and found out that river nyamwamba was diverted from its natural course to create space for kilembe mines to support its infrastructure. We see its effects now as the towns people have lost their homes of origin to such mistakes and greed.
‘’The impacts of an increasing population, settlement, degradation and encroachment on fragile ecosystem are some of the reasons for the flooding.’’ Reported in the assessment.
On the other hand this is not the first time Uganda is experiencing floods as they have been happening in the Easter region in Mbale district in the Bududa area for more than 10 years now. But this time the recent floods raved people and property.
The bursting of river banks comes at a time when the government of Uganda is trying to contain the Coronavirus.
Lake Victoria has also recently recorded a rise in the water levels leading to over flooding which has destroyed property including beaches, landing sites and power generating centers.
Lake Victoria is the largest water body in Africa shared by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya has been rising on 14th May and hit the 13.42 meter mark highest than the previous water mark record of 13.41 meters recorded on May 5, 1964.
Environmental experts have attributed the rising water levels to heavy rainfall, environmental degradation and urbanization.
Sam Cheptoris, Uganda’s minister of water and environment in his media address warned that water levels could rise further and cause severe floods across the country.
He added that water reduction is an inevitable solution and it is likely to affect the people and properties downstream. He therefore he advised early preparation and response following the cause.
While the country looks at the Covid-19 situation with hope, the government has another huge task to accomplish in order to promote sustainable cities and communities.
"We heard over the radio that the government is planning to provide us with a safer place for settlement and they are building refugee camps for us. Baluku said.
“I don’t want to send my family to a refugee camp yet I own acres of land back home."
The people of Kisagazi village are confident that the government is coming to their rescue with relief food and a sustainable plan for the future of their village.