At least eight people killed in flooding in western Uganda

FILE PHOTO: Flooding in Elegu, northern Uganda, on the border with South Sudan. Thousands of people across East Africa are currently affected by flooding. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

At least eight people were confirmed dead after River Lhubiriha in Kasese District in western Uganda burst its banks, according to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS).

The URCS also said that out of the eight, four of the victims were from one family and one other victim was a Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) soldier. The others were yet to be identified, it added.

“Our team continues to support the affected, working closely with the Office of the Prime Minister’s Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management, Kasese Local District Government and the Uganda Police Force,” the UCRS tweeted.

A family of five people is still unaccounted for according to a report by the national broadcaster, UBC TV. The heavy flooding also resulted in the destruction of property and some roads being cut off.

The incident occurred after President Yoweri Museveni visited the region for an assessment tour of the damage caused by the floods. Museveni was also expected to address a select group of leaders in the district on possible long term solutions to the problem.

Local media outlet NTV Uganda also reported that other rivers flowing from the Ruwenzori Mountains, including Ethako and Kabira, had also burst their banks.

Hundreds of people in the East and Horn of Africa regions have been killed while thousands of others have been displaced by heavy rains and the resulting floods and landslides.

Kenya has been the worst hit so far with the government recently reporting that more than 230 people had been killed and more than 161,000 others displaced since heavy rains began in April.

The heavy rains have been caused by moisture dumped in the region by winds coming in from the Indian Ocean where temperatures have risen in recent months, according to Chris Shisanya, a professor of climatology in Nairobi, who spoke to Reuters.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) noted that the ongoing flooding crisis is exacerbating other threats caused by COVID-19 and the invasion of locusts.

“Travel and movement restrictions meant to slow down the spread of COVID-19 are hampering efforts to combat swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops. Flooding is also a ‘threat amplifier’ with regards to the spread of COVID-19 as it makes it hard to implement preventive measures,” Dr Simon Missiri, IFRC Regional Director for Africa said.

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