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Butaleja Communities Still Stuck in Floods

The heavy runoff swept off roads and bridges and forced rivers to burst their banks, spilling into gardens, homesteads and schools in the areas of Busaba, Himutu, Mazimasa, Kachonga, Butaleja rural and Butaleja town council.
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Communities in Butaleja District are still struggling to deal with floods that devastated the area after torrential rains that hit the area for three consecutive days. 

The heavy runoff swept off roads and bridges and forced rivers to burst their banks, spilling into gardens, homesteads and schools in the areas of Busaba, Himutu, Mazimasa, Kachonga, Butaleja rural and Butaleja town council. 

Lelesi bridge, along River Manafwa along Mbale-Butaleja road, was entirely ruined. Business and transport are still paralyzed as businessmen, farmers and pedestrians can hardly cross from either side of the road.

However, fares have been hiked from 5000 Shillings to between 10,000 and 25,000 Shillings for those travelling to Mbale from Butaleja.     Bashir Guloba, a resident of Himutu says that the culverts on the bridge were too small to support the volume of water from the river. He said the bad road has now rendered business in the district a nightmare.    

//Cue in; “Naye bano be…  

Cue out…okudamu okubonabona.”//      

District Youth Councilor Michael Daggu says UNRA did not consult the district leadership while constructing the bridge and in the end, put up a small bridge that cannot withstand the pressure of the speedy water. He adds that UNRA erred in diverting water from the river from its original route to rice plantations.     

//Cue in; “We just saw…  

Cue out…can’t move”//  

The District Speaker Yunus Hamira says that businesspersons in the district can no longer transport their rice from Butaleja to Mbale the biggest consumer of their rice and other neighbouring districts.  He says that millions of money that would accrue from their businesses have been lost.   

//Cue in; “Right now what we…   

Cue out…that bridge.”//    

Butaleja, the home of Doho Rice scheme is famed for the growing of rice ever since the 1970’s when the scheme was constructed by the former president Idi Amin.  The rice scheme produces millions of tons of rice coupled with the individual farmer’s production to serve the country.    

Ahmed Hasiyo, an operator at the rice miller in Nampologoma Trading Centre says that his rice mill was submerged and until now, they conduct any business.    

//Cue in; “Twakosedwa…  

Cue out…nekanyamba ewaka.”//    

Butaleja district has a population close to 400,000 people according to the National Housing Census that was carried out in 2014. Many of the people in this district depend on cultivation more especially growing rice along the river banks of River Manafwa.   

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