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Over 2000 Pupils miss school due to floods

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KAARO KARUNGI | RAKAI DISTRICT – An estimated 2,000 pupils in Rakai District have missed lessons for two weeks after floods cut off roads connecting to their respective schools.


According to Mr John Baptist Kimbowa, the district education officer, the affected primary schools include Kamengo- Nsonso, Kibuta-Kiruuli, Lwemisege, and Byakabanda.


“These pupils are too young to wade through the fast moving water,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Although there are some youth who carry stranded people on their backs to cross the flooded roads after paying between Shs1,000 and Shs2,000 per head, Mr Kimbowa said many parents have complained that they cannot afford the charges.


The floods came due to rising water levels at some landing sites around Lake Kijanebarola. They have also paralysed transport in the district for two weeks and slowed down movement of goods and services.


The situation worsened on May 15 when the lake receded at Kalunga Landing Site near the border between Rakai and Isingiro districts, creating speculation among locals and fishermen that the lake had ‘migrated’ to another area.


A few days later, it emerged that the lake water had led to flooding at other landing sites and wetlands, submerging key roads in the area.


The most affected roads include Rwabaganda–Kyabuzare–Kalunga, Kibaale–Ddyango –Endiizi, Lumbugu–Lwamaggwa, Lumbugu–Rakai and Rakai–Byakabanda.


Mr Kimbowa explained that the number of pupils likely to miss classes may increase because other classes of Primary One up to Primary Three are expected to start reporting on June 7.


“If the situation continues like this and authorities don’t intervene, more pupils will have to miss their studies since more classes are yet to start this month,” he added.


Appeal to govt

He appealed to the district works department to liaise with the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra ) to ensure that the damaged roads are repaired to ease transport.

Ms Matilda Namulindwa, the head teacher at Kabuta-Kiruuli Primary School whose school closed due to floods, said they had resolved to resume classes after the water levels reduced in the road but they are now delayed due the poor condition of the toilets.


“The toilets used by the pupils got submerged in water and they had filled up, bringing the waste on top, which is very risky for the children. Our plan is to first empty the toilets before we tell the pupils and teachers to report,” she said.


Farmers affected

Mr Wilber Ndawula, a banana farmer in Buyamba Village, Ddwaniro Sub-county, told Daily Monitor that their bananas are sold at giveaway prices because trucks can no longer reach the area due to damaged roads.


“We are making huge losses as matooke buyers complain of the bad roads and cannot risk bringing the trucks to this side. We are now selling a bunch of matooke at Shs2,000 compared to the Shs15,000 before the road was cut off by floods,” he explained.


Weather status

Early this year, the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) warned that some parts of the country were likely to experience near to normal to above normal (wetter than average) rainfall between March and May, which was likely to lead to flash flooding in low lying areas.


In the last couple of months, heavy rain has wreaked havoc in several parts of the country, claiming lives and destroying property worth millions of shillings.



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