MASAKA – Three people have been confirmed dead and livestock lost after flashfloods swept into homes in Kagaaga village in Lwamaggwa Sub county, in Rakai district. The dead were identified as Alex Kansiime, Reuben Ninsiima, and one Kyakabale.
The trio was part of the community living near Lake Kijanebarola, which burst its banks, flooding into homesteads and plantations.
According to survivors, the lake expanded beyond its known boundaries, trapping dozens of unsuspecting victims inside their homes.
Eliab Mukooza, one of the survivors narrated that the flashfloods wreaked havoc in the area in the wee hours of Wednesday. He added that the victims drowned as they struggled to run for safety.
Mukooza explained that the deceased were elderly and frail people who were washed away by the heavy floods before their bodies got stuck in the muddy-clay soil deposits on the lake banks.
According to Mukooza, the flashfloods affected close to 30 homesteads, washing away at least 17 houses.
Jonathan Mwesigye, the Chairperson of Kakundi parish said that flashfloods had also killed scores of domestic animals, many of which were washed into the lake basin and could not be rescued. The flooding, according to Mwesigye, resulted from the continuous seasonal rains in the area in recent weeks, which had increased the water volumes in the lake, leading to unprecedented overflow.
“These people have settled in this area for years, and such an incident was unheard of before. Some of the survivors were rescued by the fishing canoes, which however, couldn’t carry animals such as cattle,” he said.
He believes that the lake could have claimed its original boundaries, part of which had been encroached on for human settlements.
Robert Kambugu Ssenyonga – the Rakai Deputy Resident District Commissioner revealed that a security team had deployed at the scene to continue with the rescue mission to minimize the loss of property.
He noted that the district authorities had already petitioned the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness to assist the affected communities with relief supplies.
Ssenyonga revealed that affected families would be hosted in the nearby schools with hope that government responds in time.
Lake Kijanebarola was formed as a result of down warping in part of the Rwizi-Kabare river course, causing a reverse flow of rivers and streams through the new routes. Its a shallow lake with an average depth of five metres and a surface area of 35 kilometres formed in the area. The lake fed Kibare-Bukora Rivers, which drain the Kooki hills through the Sango-Bay plains before streaming to Lake Victoria.
Additional reporting by URN