Lake Kijjanebarola Flood Victims Starving

At least 800 people who were affected by the recent flooding of Lake Kijjanebarola and its auxiliary tributaries are facing starvation, a status report issued by the Rakai district Emergency Response team has revealed.

The victims are residents of various parishes in Kagamba, Kachera, and Lwamaggwa Sub County in Rakai district, whose homes and plantations got submerged by heavy violent floods that occurred after Lake Kijjanebarola burst its banks early last week.

Moses Luyima, the Kooki Culture Health Minister, who is also coordinating the district emergency response team, says that their field visit to the affected communities has established that the majority of the victims lost all their properties and are currently facing starvation due to the lack of food.

According to the report, over 200 families in the parishes of Kigoto, Ntarule, Kanigisa, Kagaaga, and Kasankara were completely displaced and all their gardens were submerged by floods. Luyima indicates that the victims who are currently scattered in improvised shelters are struggling to get food and many of them are already starving.

“The victims have now grouped themselves in various camps of convenience, but the biggest challenge apparently is food, shelter, and bedding. We have tried to mobilize for relief items from the local sources, but these can only do very little compared to the underlying need,” he said.

Besides the starvation, Luyima says that they are afraid of the possible outbreak of sanitation-related infections, due to the apparent consumption of contaminated water by the victims. He explains that the fast-flowing floods submerged several pit latrines and caused the death of dozens of livestock that are currently decomposing within the watercourse, presenting serious health threats to the communities.  

Paul Rutereza, the Chairperson for Lugaaga village, which was also affected by the floods has appealed to the government to step in and rescue the situation that he says is getting out of hand. He says that they are pleading with some community members to help accommodate some of the victims.

Rutereza however, says that this is also not sustainable without support in terms of food and bedding. Samuel Luke Ssekamwa, the Rakai District Chairperson says that they are in touch with the Office of the Prime Minister seeking the necessary relief support for the victims. 

According to him, the district recently secured 10 tons of maize floor and 2 tons of food from the Disaster Preparedness and Management department, but the whole package was consumed in four days. 

“We have gone back for more emergency relief packages from the government and we expect the responsible departments to respond as soon as possible, given the urgency of the situation at hand,’ he noted. 

The flooding of Lake Kijanebarola has been attributed to heavy seasonal rains that increased water pressure in the rivers that flow into the lake, leading to the bursting of the banks.                             

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