Communities living in most parts of Eastern and Northern Uganda have been warned against impending harsh weather hazards including floods, mudslides, gusty winds and lightning strikes, come the next rainy season.
According to the advisory issued by Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA), most parts of the country will experience near-normal to above normal rainfall in June, July and August but potential hazards like flash floods, waterlogging, mudslides, rising water lake levels over Victoria, Kyoga and Albert, gusty winds and lightning strikes should be expected in some areas.
The anticipated “near normal to above normal” rainfall patterns are likely to be accompanied by extreme rainfall events that may lead to flash floods in low-lying areas in eastern, northern, north eastern and in urban areas. Areas such as Katakwi, Kapelebyong, Teso and Elegu border in Amuru districts and Karamoja sub-region are on notice.
Also on notice is Elgon sub region where mudslides/landslides are likely to occur. During this season, UNMA says, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property.
In the light of the above, UNMA Executive Director Bamanya Deus says the Ministry of Works and Transport should reposition its equipment as bridges are likely to be washed away and roads destroyed by flash floods in the areas in context. Strong/violent winds may also occur with a potential to cause structural damage to private and public buildings (blowing off rooftops) and collapse of poorly constructed buildings, according to UNMA.
This, the advisory says, requires urban authorities to clear and reduce blockages of the drainage systems to avoid water logging on streets. Solid waste should be disposed to safer places and authorities also need to check on sewage lines.
UNMA also advised that there is need to carry out sustained awareness campaigns on risks of flooding, lightning and mudslides in the areas highlighted above and District Disaster Management committees should update their contingency plans and report any emerging incidents associated with weather and climate hazards immediately to the concerned authorities and to the Office of the Prime Minister.
On food security in Karamoja sub-region where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.