People with disabilities in Kasese have decried the recent floods that hit the area that they say have worsened their situation.
Kasese was last week hit by another wave of floods that left property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
Speaking to Nile Post, some of the victims of the floods who are also people with disability said they were left homeless by the catastrophe.
“Despite being a person with disability, I devised means to earn some money by selling charcoal and cassava flour. All this was washed away by the floods,” said Alice Muhindo a resident of Nyamwamba area.
Muhindo said she had gone back to square one after her business worth shs800,000 was washed away, noting that the situation is expected to worse since she can no longer fend for herself.
“My house was swept away leaving me and the family without anywhere to sleep.”
The situation is not any different for Mark Tamanza who says he owned a small workshop where he worked on shoes.
“The workshop was swept away with everything in it lost. I now leave on handouts from well-wishers to be able to look after my two children,”Tamanza said.
According to him, this is the situation for many other people with disabilities in the area who have on several occasions been affected by floods that swept Kasese in the past leaving many dead whereas their property has been destroyed.
“There are many of our colleagues who were killed during the previous floods whereas many of us have gone through untold suffering. It is high time government came to our help.”
However, according to James Mumbere, an advocate for people with disabilities, PWDs are on several occasions left out in formulation of policies on disaster management.
“They are always left out in the formulation of these government policies and yet we are also directly affected by them. Government should not only bring people with disability on board but also ensure they are part of planning and the decision-making processes for the different disaster management policies for the country,”Mumbere said.
He noted that recruiting people with disabilities in various government ministries and agencies will not only ensure participation in governance matters but also to help in following up the various policies.
“In case of recovery programs, if some of those implementing are themselves people with disability, it will be easy to implement since they are direct beneficiaries or victims. It is not about only creating awareness but how to respond with a disability-inclusive mindset. For example in case of building a bridge washed away by water, is the replacement inclusive of everyone, including the people with disability, pregnant women and children,” he noted.
According to Musa Mwambu, a representative for youth with disabilities at the National Youth Advocacy Platform people with disabilities ought to be sensitized on policies formulated by government at all levels.
He cited policies on climate change that he said have an effect on all people alike, noting that before implementation, there should be efforts to ensure the public is conversant with them.
“When floods or landslides come because of climate change, they affect all people equally. Those with disability are also affected. Why not involve them in the formulation of policies on climate change? We need to support persons with disability to understand climate change and how to deal with it,”Mwambu.
“As a country, we need to find solutions to supporting persons with disability when it comes to dealing with disaster. Information about climate change should be disseminated in avenues that are friendly to people with disability.”
He insisted that by involving people with disability in key decision-making and implementation of policies, they can play a key role in the development of the country.