The Uganda National Roads Authority has diverted traffic along the main Mbale-Butaleja road to Tororo-Busolwe road following the heavy flooding at Laresi-Doho swamp.
A UNRA notice dated May 4, advises road users connecting to Mbale to make use of either Butaleja-Busolwe-Nagongera road or Busolwe-Laresi-Budaka-Mbale road.
“Following the torrential rains, a section along the Laresi-Doho swamp at River Manafwa [at the boundary between Mazimasa and Kachonga sub-counties in Butaleja district, along Mbale-Butaleja road is still exposed to continuous flooding with flood waters over the road rendering it impassable to road users, we are requesting road users to use Butaleja-Busolwe-Nagongera road or Busolwe-Laresi-Budaka-Mbale road,” reads the notice
This means that travellers will meet an extra pay of between Shs5000 to Shs10,000 to enable them go through these alternatives to access Butaleja and Busolwe.
The torrential rains being experienced in several parts of Uganda have caused floods which have damaged bridges and roads making the areas impassable to motorists.
Mr Allan Ssempebwa Kyobe the UNRA manager in charge of media relations, said efforts are underway to make the road secure for all road users but that this is only possible after the heavy rains.
The bridge on River Manafwa that was constructed in 1960s remained submerged on Friday morning as floods from Mt Elgon ravaged the area.
Butaleja district authorities diverted most of the vehicles off Busolwe town council and Butaleja district headquarters in anticipation of closing the highway because of flooding at the River Manafwa and the entire Doho rice scheme remained high.
Mr Galama Kitunzi, a resident of Butaleja said motorists have been forced to divert to Bunghanji-Budaka District to connect to Mbale town.
He said the most affected sub counties are Himutu, Mazimasa, Kachonga and Butaleja town council and that people who cant swim have to pay others to carry them across the bridge.
“And do you know that people and vehicles carrying agricultural produce like rice and maize are stuck along the road? Some of the agricultural products that are perishable will rot,” said Mr Kitunzi.
The CAO Butaleja Mr Alex Majeme said whenever rains are heavy at Mt Elgon sub-region the flood water wreaks havoc on Butaleja being at a low land area,
“A lot of work can’t go on now, we are stuck as a district but we thank God that nobody has been killed by the floods and our humble request is for help to rescue families whose only source of good has been destroyed,” said Mr Majeme.
He said some drivers have decided to park their vehicles while others have opted to use the longer routes via different villages to reach Mbale, Namutumba, Tororo and Budaka,” he said.
He explained that preliminary assessment indicates that food crops like maize, sorghum, millet, beans cassava and animals have been destroyed by the floods.
Butaleja District is bordered by Budaka district to the north, Mbale district to the east, Tororo district to the southeast, Bugiri district to the south and Namutumba district to the west and is placed in a low land swampy area that makes it prone to floods year in year out. The district is located approximately 38 kilometers (24 mi), by road, southwest of Mbale, the nearest large city. The coordinates of the district are: 00 56N, 33 57E.