Elegu floods: OPM delivers food items but distribution delayed

Residents of Elegu Trading Centre in Atiak sub-county Amuru district ponder their next move after floods submerged their homes and business premises. Courtesy photo.

Government through the Office of the Prime Minister has intervened to provide relief items, including posho, beans and rice, to flood victims in Elegu after river Unyama bust its banks on Tuesday, August 25.

The floods which displaced more than 3,000 people destroyed several properties, leaving several buildings submerged and two people feared dead. The deceased were identified as businessmen Charles Kawoya and Uberu Kikondo.

Elegu refugee collection centre, roads and bridges have not been spared by the two-day downpour. Unyama Bridge in Okidi parish, Atiak sub-county was also washed away. The bridge was the only route humanitarian organizations use to connect to refugee settlements in the West Nile region and Lamwo district.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people were seen taking shelter on trees while others climbed storied buildings for safety.

Police mobilized swimmers from nearby communities and about 50 people were rescued before the police marine department from Kigo, in Wakiso district reached the scene to save more lives.

Elugu, a border trading centre between Uganda and South Sudan in Atiak sub-county, Amuru district has had three historic floods in 2009, 2013 and 2017 that left the business community in huge losses.

With gardens submerged in water and harvested food washed away, the affected people are in need of food. Last week, local leaders called for government intervention to have food and shelter provided to the more than 3,000 affected persons in the area.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) last week distributed relief items in efforts to rescue the situation. The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 74 million Christians in 98 countries across the world.

GeremewYadessa, LWF’s Team Leader in Adjumani, said LWF provided the affected people with tarpaulins to set up temporary shelter as some wait to be shifted to Bibia.

Other than tarpaulins, LWF provided household materials like saucepans and utensils.
“We are also giving them soap and water purifier to help guard against waterborne diseases,” Yadessa said.

Aswa region police spokesperson Patrick Okema said OPM delivered 100,000kgs of posho, 35,000kgs of rice and 1000kgs of beans to the affected people.

However, to date, the food items have not yet been distributed due to an ongoing verification exercise. By yesterday, 1,531 households had been registered but the number was still rising.

Micheal Lakony, the Amuru district chairman told PML Daily yesterday that the food items are still being kept at Bibia Barracks and will be distributed tomorrow (today) if the right beneficiaries are verified.

He added that the food relief given is little compared to the number of affected persons who urgently need food, with some looking for alternatives and cooking by the road side.

Meanwhile, police in Aswa region are searching for the body of a son to their colleague who drowned in river Pager that feeds into Aswa river.

Bongomin Paul, 11, son of Corp Walter Nyeko, attached to Kitgum police station, drowned on the August 26, as he swam with his friends in the river. Efforts are ongoing to recover his body.



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