Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 January 2020

Heavy flooding claims the lives of 22 people in Uganda

Relentless rains have inundated East Africa in mudslides and flooding

Rescue boats evacuate families after their houses were flooded in K'akola village in Nyando sub-county in Kisumu, Kenya on December 3, 2019. AFP
Rescue boats evacuate families after their houses were flooded in K'akola village in Nyando sub-county in Kisumu, Kenya on December 3, 2019. AFP

Twenty-two people have perished and many more are missing after flooding in western Uganda's Bundibugyo district.

The floods hit Harugale sub-county after a heavy downpour on Saturday morning that saw a number of houses submerged by the waters, the Ugandan Red Cross said.

"Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to start on the house to house needs assessment and registration to establish needs of the people,” Red Cross spokesperson Irene Nakasiita said Sunday morning.

Rain is hampering communication in the remote location on the border with DR Congo and separated from the rest of Uganda by the Rwenzori mountains.

At least 20 people have been killed as a result of floods and mudslides in the last week in Uganda. Lives have also been lost in neighbouring Rwanda as a result of heavy rain and flooding in over the last fortnight which destoryed homes, flooded farmland and destroyed roads.

Two months of relentless rains have submerged villages and farms and borne mudslides onto roads and houses. The unrelenting downpours have affected people swathes of central and eastern Africa.

The extreme weather has been blamed on the Indian Ocean Dipole, a climate system defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between western and eastern areas of the Indian Ocean, with the ocean around East Africa being about two degrees warmer than those of the eastern Indian Ocean near Australia.

This results in higher evaporation and moist air flowing inwards over the continent as rain.

Scientists warn that as ocean temperatures rise due toclimate change, Indian Ocean dipoles will become more frequent and severe, and that the strength of this current dipole is of a magnitude not seen in years.

Updated: December 8, 2019 03:41 PM

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