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Heavy rains displace over 150,000 people in eastern Uganda

KAMPALA, (Xinhua) -- Ongoing heavy rains in mountainous eastern Uganda have left over 150,000 people homeless, a top government official said on Friday.

Musa Ecweru, minister of state for disaster preparedness and refugees, told Xinhua in an interview that the people are now staying in schools and churches in the low lands in fear of landslides that have already occurred in some areas.

“They are displaced because while the landslide has happened, the crack that has been witnessed over the years on Mountain Elgon seems to be widening and that presents a very big worry to the community,” Ecweru said.

Landslides on Wednesday evening occurred in Manafwa district, ravaging five villages, and leaving crops, livestock and houses destroyed.

A similar landslide occurred in neighboring Bududa district also destroying crops and property about two weeks ago.

“The community has to be removed from all possible danger on the slopes and taken to areas which are relatively safe even if it means putting them in some kind of a camp for a time being as we plan how to resettle them,” Ecweru added.

He said government is working with humanitarian agencies to provide relief aid to the displaced families.

“We are also conscious of the fact that putting people together can compromise sanitation and present a possibility of cholera,” he said.

“We are working with Directors of District Health Services to ensure that communities which are displaced if it is possible are absorbed within the host families and then we support them from there.”

According to the meteorological department, the torrential rains will subside mid next month.

The Mountain Elgon ranges have experienced a spate of landslides. In March 2010, a major landslide occurred in Bududa, killing at least 200 people and leaving thousands of others homeless.



China donates emergency food aid worth U.S. five million dollars to Uganda

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- China on Friday donated emergency food aid worth 5 million U.S. dollars to Uganda to support World Food Program (WFP) projects in the semi-arid northeastern region also known as Karamoja.

Handing over the food aid to Uganda at the WFP warehouse, Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda said the money was got from the South-South Cooperation Fund and will benefit vulnerable women, children below the age of two years and school going children.

He said the emergency food aid project is also an important part of the implementation of the cooperation initiatives announced in the Forum on China Africa Cooperation summit  held in 2015 in South Africa.

El Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director said the relief food which will last 10 months will enable over 130,000 children have two meals a day at school instead of one and they will be encouraged to attend and concentrate better in their classes.

Daloum said over 96,000 women and children will receive nutritional fortified food that will cure acute malnutrition or prevent stunting, a damaging condition that affects more than a  third of young children in Karamoja.

“This contribution is very timely and critical for WFP, as we were facing funding shortages for nutrition and school feeding activities in Karamoja. Last year we had to reduce the number of school meals from two to one,” he said.

Musa Ecweru, minister of state for disaster preparedness and refugees, said that over the last six decades, Karamoja which has faced long dry spells has depended on food aid.

He said government is working with partners to ensure that the region is food secure.


Five killed, four injured in road accident in midwestern Uganda  

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- At least five people were killed and four others critically injured in a Saturday night road accident in the midwestern Ugandan district of Kiryandongo, a police spokesperson said here on Sunday.

Patrick Onyango, Uganda’s deputy police spokesperson, told Xinhua in an interview that three people died on spot and two others later passed on in hospital.

He said the fatal accident occurred after a driver of a commuter passenger taxi rammed into a stationary trailer truck that had broken down at Chepelwo trading center, along the Gulu-Kampala Highway.

“The cause of the accident is reckless driving on the side of the commuter taxi driver. He rammed into a stationary truck,” said Onyango.

The injured victims and bodies of the deceased were taken to Kiryandongo Hospital for treatment and postmortem respectively.

The East African country registers at least 20,000 accidents with over 2,000 deaths each year, making it one of the countries with the highest road accident fatality rates in the world, according to police figures.


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