Kilembe Mines Hospital in Kasese district, western Uganda was on Thursday closed after River Nyamwamba once again burst its banks threatening a repeat of the floods that ravaged the area on May 1, 2013.
The medical superintendent Dr. Edward Wafula Thursday said that there were 195 patients admitted in the hospital before the floods occurred at about 9am today. All the patients have been evacuated as ambulances, government vehicles and private cars were called in to rescue them.
Dr. Wafula added that the hospital could not keep the patients with no serious cases because everyone has been traumatized. However, the hospital was not flooded although surrounded by water. Most of the patients who had just had surgery for different complications were transferred to St. Pauls Health Centre IV in Kasese town.
John Baluku, an officer from St. Johns Ambulance who was coordinating the evacuation process, said the number of patients had overwhelmed them until there was a call to whoever has a car to come to the rescue of the people.
Some of the patients who had some energy to run were pulled uphill by their caretakers in order to be free from the flood water. There were reports that two people a woman and a child were washed away by the floods, but this could not be independently verified.
Some of the caretakers were left in doubt over the welfare of their patients as no one was allowed to enter the ambulance apart from those who had undergone surgery.
The Manager of the Uganda Red Cross Society Kasese Branch, Everest Habai, described the floods as a recurring disaster whose cause must be investigated further.
Most families that had returned to some parts of Kilembe valley were seen pilling their belongings along the road in order to relocate Kasese town.
Thursday’s incident occurred just six days after all the temporally wooden bridges on River Nyamwamba were washed away on Saturday in what people have described as “warning bells.”
In a related development River Nyamugasani which also flooded on the same day as Nyamwamba last year also burst its banks, washing away the temporally bridge at Kyalhumba-Musasa town board. This means that the hard-to-reach sub-counties of Kyalhumba and Mahango have been cut off from the district major hospital of Kagando.
The floods also cut off the Kyalhumba-Kabirizi road which connects the area to the Kasese-Mpondwe high way.
Kilembe Mines Hospital was undergoing rehabilitation after it was closed for several months following the the May 2013 floods that left at least 10 people dead. The hospital lost equipment worth billions of money.
Additional Reporting By URN