Floods have forced at least 15,000 people to leave their homes in northern Uganda, where the deluge has destroyed houses, crops, roads and bridges.
The Acholi districts of Agago, Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader are the most affected, with Agago alone having a total of 3,492 households affected, almost 13,000 hectares of crops inundated and some 2,000 latrines destroyed, according to a report by its district disaster management office.
“The situation is certainly bad. It’s worrying. There is fear of an outbreak of certain diseases and food insecurity as a result of the heightened rains and flooding,” Ugandan State Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Musa Ecweru told IRIN.
“Several areas have been cut off. People are uprooting their food crops from the gardens due to fear of them getting rotten. This is going to cause food insecurity and starvation in a few months.”
Ecweru said that the impassable roads have hindered access to some of the treatment centres for patients suffering from nodding disease in the region.
In 1996, as the Ugandan government fought the Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion, almost the entire population of the Acholi region was compelled to move into overcrowded and poorly serviced “protected villages”.
They only began to return to their homes in significant numbers 6 years ago. Since then, many international aid agencies have left or scaled down their presence in the region as the level of emergency humanitarian need declined.
“We are working with the ministries of health, works, education, agriculture, water and environment to respond to the situation,” said Ecweru, adding that the government was going to dispatch immediate relief items such as medicines and disinfectant to prevent disease outbreaks.
Neighbouring regions such as Karamoja, Lango and Teso have similarly been affected by the rains, which started in early July and increased in intensity in late August.
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