Ugandans Tipped on Floods as Death Toll of Last Weekend’s Heavy Rains Reach 32 People

CP Fred Enanga

As the death toll of last weekend’s heavy rains reaches 32 people, police have tipped Ugandans on how they can remain safe amidst flooding roads and suburbs. Floods that hit Bugisu and Sebei sub-regions left people homeless as dozens of houses were swept by fast-running water.

In tragedy left 11 people moving in one super custom dead including three from the same family. The super custom occupants had gone to escort their colleagues as he was getting introduced by his fiancée.

In total, Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, said 29 people died in Bugisu and Sebei. Three others were hit and killed by a house that collapsed on them during the heavy rains in the Mityana district.

Enanga explains that the Mbale flash floods originated from Mt. Elgon and Wanale Hill in Mbale. They were coupled with mudslides and caused extensive damage to food and cash crops, permanent and semi-permanent houses were broken, while others were submerged.

Police have identified some of the deceased people as Khalayi Lukiya 15, Khalayi Barbra 11, Tamunoza Doreen 27, Yadhi Farouk 32, Nekesa Janet Diana 32, Mwagale Andrew, Namara David 30, and Chemendwa Sam.

Enanga warns people living in low-lying areas or next to rivers and streams must evacuate to safer places or higher grounds when the water level arises. They should also take special care during storms, as sudden floods can easily affect them.

“There is a danger of flowing water over roads and low water bridges. It needs to be careful because flowing water applies pressure to contact areas. The higher the speed, the higher the pressure, and can sweep you off on your car. When in a car, the force increases rapidly on the underside of the vehicle and starts to lift it up and float. It is, therefore, advisable to open the doors and windows and let water inside the car, other than being swept away,” Enanga said.

Enanga says many drivers gamble with their safety by driving through flood water which puts the lives of drivers and their passengers at risk. As a driver, police say you should be aware of your car’s limitations. Police say if you become submerged, do not panic but carefully release your safety belt and roll down the window, then get out of the car and swim to safety.

“Do not stay in the car until it sinks. The danger of standing water. Although standing water does not exert pressure, it can lift a person or vehicle and float it. The car becomes impossible to move forward. When vehicles are moving fast over a layer of water, the vehicle can start to aquaplane, especially if the tires are worn out. It is easier to lose control,” Enanga said.

Police say when rivers are overflowing their banks, the flow of water will cause light objects, trees, to float. Therefore, this could block the flow of water at obstructions and channel the water, and cause rapids to form. To be safe avoid these rapids.