Residents of Bwaise-Bokasa zone in Nabweru, a Kampala suburb are still counting losses following heavy rains on Tuesday morning.
Barely a month since the rainy season started, some communities in flood prone areas in Bokasa along the northern bypass have started experiencing the impact of floods. The heavy downpour that lasted several hours left the area flooded, roads cut off and drainage systems blocked. As a result, work was nearly paralysed.
Loss of property
Sarah Nakigozi, a resident of Bwaise says her household items, including cups, plates, mattress and clothes, were swept away during the rains.
"Earlier at 5am today, this door became a water pass-way and our beds became bridges. My children and I watched our property being swept away. These included utensils, some clothes and mattresses. We also couldn't sleep, my family had to just cover themselves with polythene bags while standing till the water levels gradually decreased," Nakigozi explained.
Nakigozi also added that this rain affected the children's studies as she couldn't let them go to school.
"Even at 7am the usual time my kids start moving to school, I couldn't let them battle with these artificial lakes at this tender age. They had to remain home," she added.
Kiberu Godfrey, a 24 year old resident of Bwaise, whose house was partially submerged in water, also lost property.
"For the whole night, it was my bicycle that I made my bed as the whole house was submerged in water,” he said.
Kiberu had to deal with water as well as sewerage material. “I couldn't save a thing when I also noticed human waste floating in the house. Because of the stench, I have decided to shift and go back to my village in Masaka because water will keep spilling into this leaking house," Kiberu explained.
In an interview, Dr. Lubega Aloysius, a doctor at Lubega Clinic in Bwaise said that there have been several malaria, typhoid and bacterial infection cases for the past two weeks.
"I have handled several cases of malaria, typhoid and infections among children. I am afraid there might be an outbreak of epidemic diseases if these rains continue more frequently," he said.
Musoke William, a businessman who had turned up for daily work watched in disbelief as water swept through bags of cement and lime.
"This week has been a disaster for me as I have nowhere to work from. My hardware shop is filled with water and all my cement is in ruin now. I have lost millions of shillings," he lamented.
Musoke was confident that if the concerned authorities come in to help the masses and clean up the drainage channels in the area, this could be avoided. However, Kajjima Kawooya, the chairman LC1 of Bokasa Zone blames residents for dumping rubbish in the drainage channels which he says blocks them leading to floods.
"We have warned them time and again to do away with this habit but have turned a deaf ear," Kawooya explained.
Kawooya added: "Rain water can be very destructive to houses and buildings if not controlled. Poor garbage disposal leads to these floods. A lot of garbage here collects on the tributary bridges and hinders the flow of runoff hence flooding on roads, homes and in compounds. It is very important that residents join in the maintenance of the channel and its tributaries."
Peter Okwol, a security personnel at Centenary Bank in Bwaise, says floods have rendered Bwaise a less attractive place to live in. "Poor drainage combined with poor garbage disposal have made Bwaise unattractive. It's unfortunate that blockage of water channels is due to poor disposal but the fact that Bwaise is a swampy area, sometimes these overflows are inevitable," says.
Other people cash in
Meanwhile, the heavy rains are a blessing in disguise for some residents who use the opportunity to boost their businesses.
Tulinaawe Emmanuel, a boda boda cyclist says the residents' inability to wade through the floods increases his income as he is then employed to transport them from one place to another.
"Because people cannot walk in this dirty water, I take this as an opportunity to transport them and with the increased transport fares, I have earned over 50,000 shillings in the past six hours," Tulinaawe explained.
Lunkuse Olivia, a bsinesswoman in Bwaise also says she has registered an increase in the number of customers who come to buy porridge and tea during the morning and evening hours.
"Since the beginning of the rainy season, I have got a lot of customers I never expected. These only come to have breakfast," Lunkuse narrates.
For Gordon Kukiriza, a local trader in Bwaise, his sales have gone up. "I have recorded high sales for gumboots, jackets and umbrellas this week,” he said.