By Guest Writer
OPINION: In the past decades, Uganda has been experiencing more erratic rainfalls resulting into frequent bursting of rivers, mudslides and landslides that ultimately leads to loss of lives, displacement of people, destruction of property, disruption of businesses and inaccessibility to social services such as education, health as amongst others.
Research from 1900 to 2018 shows that the country has experienced 20 floods and this has continued to occur yearly.
On 29th, July 2022, the floods ruined several areas of Mbale city including the wards of Nabuyonga, Nkoma, Namakwekwe in Northern City Division plus Namatala in Industrial City Division.
The damage included washing away some homes, vehicles, crops, livestock, damaging bridges and displacing some people.
The following month, more floods washed away four bridges in Bundibugyo district. These included a bridge at river Lugo, river Ngeti and river Harugale. This also left the residents especially the sick, expectant mothers plus the businesspeople stuck as they could not access the health services at Bundibugyo main hospital and operate their businesses respectively.
It is thus imperative for the government to hear the cries of the affected people by coming up with the long-term solutions that would be sustainable.
This would not only be effective to the people living in disaster prone areas but also to the government as it would be saved from spending billions of monies on emergencies.
Relocating people permanently to better places would be the best option, as they would not have to worry about the catastrophes re-occurring compared to the compensation that is always temporary and not far reaching to all victims.
However, this can only be achieved once the government co-ordinates strongly with the agencies from time to time. To yield long term results, since relocating people permanently is a process that takes some good time, but if the two organs work hand in hand, the project would be made much easier.
Last but not least, the government needs to put a total ban on the activities by people that always go back to their former areas after they have been shifted to encroach on riverbanks and High Mountain slopes for settlement and agriculture. These areas must be left alone for conservation purposes.
In conclusion, there is a need for the government to take a comprehensive climate action plan if it is to address all the issues triggered by climate change.
The current climate is evidently no longer predictable as it jeopardizes people’s lives as most of them greatly depend on growing crops and rearing animals.
The author is Hildah Nsimiire, Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies.
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