The government has issued a warning that the country should expect above-average rainfall in September.
To address any natural disasters that may occur during the rainy season, the Prime Minister’s Office has allocated a contingent fund of Shs 120 billion.
This fund, pending cabinet approval, aims to mitigate the impact of natural disasters such as flooding, landslides, and disease outbreaks across the nation.
During a media briefing in Kampala, Beatrice Atim Anywar, the Minister of State for Environment, highlighted that September to December is the second major rainfall season in most parts of Uganda.
She further stated that the rainfall performance in several areas is expected to exceed the normal levels.
“Consequently, the total rainfall in these regions is projected to be above 125% of the long-term mean, indicating a significant impact on socio-economic activities, albeit mostly in a modest degree above the average,” she explained.
Anywar emphasised the need for timely and appropriate action based on this forecast to effectively leverage the information provided.
She encouraged all stakeholders involved in rain-fed economic activities to utilize this rainfall outlook for planning and decision-making, thus improving economic welfare and livelihoods within their communities.
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority will continue to monitor weather systems and issue regular updates and warnings to users. Anywar urged users to make good use of the daily, ten-day, and monthly updates provided.
It is important to note that localized and month-to-month variations may occur as the season progresses.
Episodic flash floods could affect certain areas, resulting in loss of life and property damage.
Additionally, landslides may occur in mountainous regions of western and southwestern Uganda, such as Bundibudyo, Kasese, Kabale, Rubanda, Kisoro, Bududa, Mobile, Bulambuli, and other areas around Mt. Elgon. Strong winds and lightning are also potential hazards.
The minister stressed the significance of implementing appropriate measures to prevent loss of life and infrastructure damage, such as resettling people from low-lying areas to higher ground, constructing flood-proof houses, and developing proper drainage systems.
To mitigate lightning-related risks, Anywar called for the installation of lightning conductors/arrestors on all structures. Teachers were encouraged to ensure that school children do not play in open areas or seek shelter under trees during light drizzles preceding thunderstorms. Communities should be sensitized to wear rubber shoes and avoid contact with metallic objects.
The anticipated rainfall is expected to raise water levels in rivers, lakes, and dams. Anywar advised the energy sector to plan for optimized power generation and distribution. Soil and water conservation measures, including trenches, soil bunds, terracing, and mulching, should be encouraged to combat excessive soil erosion and downstream flooding.
Localised flooding, particularly in Kampala city and urban areas, may occur due to occasional intense rainfall events. Increased disease surveillance is necessary to respond to epidemics associated with heavy rains, such as malaria, cholera, bilharzia, typhoid, as well as respiratory diseases like asthma due to humid conditions and allergies caused by flowering plants.
Health authorities are advised to remain vigilant and ensure hospitals are equipped with necessary drugs to address potential situations arising from these conditions.
Anywar reiterated that September to December marks Uganda’s second major rainfall season.
The climate conditions during this forecast period (September to December 2023) are influenced by factors such as the evolution of El Niño conditions in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, which are predicted to persist until the end of the forecast period.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is also expected to become positive during this period, alongside the influence of regional circulation patterns, topographical features, and large inland water bodies.
Solomon Elungat, the senior disaster preparedness at the Office of the Prime Minister said the ministry has put in place the El Nino contingent funds which will help in addressing in responding to different catastrophes.
He said the budget is subject to cabinet approval.
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Publish date : 2023-09-02 16:47:17