At least 18 people have died in heavy rains that have so far pounded Bundibugyo in Western Uganda since this past Friday, Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) said on Sunday.
A team of Red Cross Action Team was deployed in the different sub-counties affected by the rains to respond and conduct a rapid assessment of needs required to alleviate the situation.
“During the assessment, tracing of the missing community members was done and 16 dead bodies have been retrieved,” said URCS.
There was a heavy downpour that started at around 3:00pm on the December 6 till this past Saturday.
This rain left most of the places in Bundibugyo flooded, a number of people displaced with their houses destroyed and others dead.
The rains also left Rivers such as Nyalulu and other small streams flooded after bursting their banks.
UCRS says the main Fortportal- Bundibugyo road and Nyahuka-Nudibugyo roads were completely destroyed as well as other roads connecting from the town council.
Houses, latrines, crop gardens, places of worship, and Cocoa gardens were also submerged.
A total of 12 sub counties were adversely affected with Halugale and Busaru being the mostly affected.
The affected areas include Busaru, Harugale, Ngite, Bundibugyo Town council, Bubukwanga, Kirumya, Ntotoro, Tokwe, Bukonzo, Busunga, Kisuuba, and Sindila.
URCS said the displaced persons whose houses were destroyed and lack shelter have been housed at nearby schools and churches (Busuru Catholic Church, Kihoka Primary school, Izahura primary school and Kibale Catholic Church).
“The discovered dead bodies have been dressed in dead body bags and well prepared by the Red Cross action team and handed to the hospitals,” said URCS.
In liaison with other authorities, some families have been allowed to take their people (the dead) for burial.
The Red Cross has also provided dead body bags and blankets for covering the exhumed dead bodies for easy transportation.
The deadly floods have wreaked havoc in different parts of the country.
The second rain season has reached its peak in most parts of the country and heavy rainfall will continue up to end of December 2019, according to the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA).
It has caused many destructive flooding in several lowlying parts of the country and landslides in the Mountanious parts of the Country.
Destructive wind and hailstorms have ravaged plantations and crops across the whole country.
In Mt Elgon areas of Eastern Uganda, the unusually heavy rainfall followed a near daily downpour for the past three Months of November, September and August.
It caused multiple landslides in the villages of Namasa, Naposhi and shukururu in Bushika subcounty of Bududa district killing 4 people, injuring 5 and displacing over 6,000 people (750 hhs).
Disaster Preparedness Minister Musa Ecweru said a review of villages households registers is ongoing to establish number and names of missing persons.
Assessment of the number of hectares of houses, plantations, crop and livestock destroyed is also on-going.
In Sironko District, 2 adults and 2 children were killed in Nabodi village, Bumumulo Parish of Zesui subcounty.
A rapid assessment established over 4,000 people (500 hhs) were affected and they lost hundreds of acres of plantations, crop and livestock.
River Manafwa, a major river draining Mt Elgon burst its banks and washed away 25 houses downstream whose occupants had early heeded OPM alert messages and shifted to other places.
URCS said it liaised with the local and district leaders to do a joint assessment through the Office of Prime Minister to get some immediate support for the affected persons in Bundibugyo.
Officials said response teams are also providing psycho social support to the bereaved families, and community members affected in this incident.
Red Cross also evacuated and referred two persons who were in critical condition to the hospital using the deployed ambulances.
Irene Nakasiita, Head of Communications and Public Relations at Uganda Red Cross said they would continue to provide health promotion materials to communities since a lot of infrastructure including latrines have been washed away hence exposing water sources to contamination and families to high health risks.
“The Red Cross also mobilized sleeping materials to the team that slept at the gazetted areas during the night and prepared Hot meal (Porridge) at Busaru,” said Nakasiita.
Nakasiita said the Uganda Police and Military officials were on ground to join hands with the Red Cross and the community members to support the rescue mission.
She said rescue teams were grappling with impassable roads, some of the missing bodies could not be retrieved at all while other victims were too far on mountain tops.
“There was no enough food to serve to the people that have been sheltered at the churches and schools,” said Nakasiita.
“There is inadequate manpower as most volunteers could not connect from one place to another due to submerged roads hence over straining the few resources and limiting the coverage of the areas affected.”