At least 20 people have been confirmed dead as a result of record flooding in Mbale District, eastern Uganda, and authorities said, warning that the death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue teams look for missing people from communities washed away by the waters.
Disastrous flooding and landslides in the Eastern Region of Uganda have also left hundreds homeless after heavy rain caused rivers to overflow.
Uganda Police Force (UPF) said flooding and landslides struck following heavy rain on the slopes of Mount Elgon late on 30 July 2022. Areas of Mbale, Kapchorwa and Sironko Districts in Eastern Region have all been severely affected. Houses were submerged and crops and roads wiped out.
Uganda Red Cross said several rivers including the Nabuyonga and Namatala overflowed in Mbale District. According to Police, the floods caused extensive property damage, especially in areas of Namakwekwe and areas of Mbale City where several vehicles and an unknown number of occupants were swept away.
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said floods and mudslides had cut several roads including the Mbale—Nkokonjeru Road and the Mbale—Soroti Road.
As of 31 July, Uganda Red Cross reported 7 fatalities in Mbale and 3 in Kapchorwa. More are feared missing and the death toll is likely to rise.
Teams from the Red Cross are working with the community and district disaster management committees of the affected areas to support the victims. However, Red Cross said rescue efforts in some of the areas are futile since the roads are impassable.
As Police and the military joined the search and rescue operations in Mbale where stranded residents could only watch vulnerably as their belongings were washed away by the floodwaters, Uganda’s Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Nabbanja Robinah, visited Mbale to assess the damage.
Although hundreds have responded to the government’s call to be relocated over the years, some continue to resist, saying they aren’t comfortable leaving their ancestral lands.