We must find a permanent solution to the Kasese floods- Museveni

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President Museveni has said there is need to find a permanent solution to the problem of flash floods that have disturbed the people of Kasese in the past five or so years.

Early this month, locals in Kasese district in Western Uganda woke up to a wave of flash floods after heavy rains that saw four major rivers including Nyamwamba, Mubuku, Nyamughasana and Lhubiriha burst their banks and water spilled into the low land communities.

The running water washed away several bridges, schools, the main health facility in the area, Kilembe Mines hospital washed away whereas huge stones and other boulders caused havoc.

Over 46000 people were affected by the floods.

On Wednesday, the president visited the area to assess the impact of the natural calamity and said there is need to put away politics and find a lasting solution to the problem.

“We may not solve this in one day, but we must agree on the way forward without cheap politics or deceiving people, just facts. We have come in response to the alarm you made. We shall look after the displaced people and support them. But this cannot be a way of life,” Museveni said.

The President also  addressed various district leaders at the Kasese District headquarters and apologized to the people of Kasese who he said had stopped to greet him but he could not stop.

“On behalf of the central government, I came to say sorry for what happened here and for the suffering. Some years ago we had the same problem. We came here and worked out a rehabilitation plan. I was told bridges were built, even an embankment to hold the water. Now this water has come and washed away the bridges and the roads. It bypassed the wall and caused more damage,” he noted.

The president said he has written to the Minister of Water and that of the Environment to study what the source of the problem is so that a permanent solution is got.

“My suspicion…God created gravity. You can’t go up and stay there, you must go down. We must deal with the issue of human settlement, some of these hills you see are not for human settlement,” he said.

Using an example of a woman winnowing millet, the president said when a woman winnows millet, the gravity brings the millet down and the wind blows the chaff off.

“Let us use the same science. Let us plant trees on mountaintops. The best way of settling people is encouraging them to engage in commercial agriculture. The question is where and how. They should also engage in the services sector (Shops, tourism, hotels, taxis etc), Industrialization and ICT,” he said.

He urged leaders to normally see ahead of the people they lead and talk to them saying they must have a correct reconstruction plan.

“At first people did not understand the capacity of the NRM. We have handled many disasters including locusts; floods, Ebola, landslides, Marburg, floating Islands and we are handling Coronavirus. I want to thank Ugandans for listening to our message,” he said.

Museveni pledged to send equipment to help clear debris and urged the leaders to sensitize the people and plant trees.

“My appeal and message is that lets work together on a long term settlement plan. Four rivers in a space of 60 miles is wealth. This means one river every ten miles. In Karamoja you go for miles without any river but here it’s a problem. This is an opportunity which is not well handled,” he said.

The Chief Administrative Officer who is also the Chairperson of the Kasese district disaster management Committee Aggrey  Muramira Winston said there is an urgent need for relocation and resettlement of all affected persons to safer places and the immediate take-over of the river valley areas by the Uganda Wildlife Authority or National Forest Authority.

He also said there is need for immediate opening up of flood channels in Kasese Town which have been encroached on by individuals.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Eng. Hillary Onek and his State Minister Musa Echweru, Uganda’s ambassador to China Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, religious and district leaders.

 

 

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