KAMPALA – The Ministry of Finance has confirmed plans to release UGX20 billion for emergency response to areas which have been recently hit by flooding.
Mr. David Bahati, the State minister for Finance who was responding to a UGX.43 billion request from the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, said that all that money cannot be released immediately.
“Not all the money is needed now. We shall avail the UGX.20 million in the next two days,” Bahati said.
Bahati’s commitment follows a report by the Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Hon Musa Ecweru during plenary sitting on 26 November 2019.
Ecweru said there is need for an urgent response to 38,000km of district roads, 98,000km of urban roads and 79,000km of village access roads which have been destroyed by floods. He added that 20 bridges require overhaul.
“The above normal rain has caused water logging in many villages causing huge post-harvest destruction. Affected population of over eight million requires immediate shelter and relief food. Twenty districts are most prone to waterborne diseases,” said Ecweru.
He added that the impact of flooding is highest in the regions of Bugisu, Teso, Bukedi, Kigezi and Rwenzori as well as the districts of Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kasese.
“Eighty five per cent of the population in these regions and districts are facing severe losses of livelihoods in addition to destruction of commonly used infrastructure. The Bugisu region has experienced landslides in addition to flooding,” he said.
The Minister of State for Health, Hon Sarah Opendi advised the Minsiter for Disaster to identify priority areas so that the funds are properly utilised.
“The ministry should explain to the House the identified priority areas because it looks like the bulk of the money will go to roads,” she said.
The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga advised the ministry to involve the district disaster committees while identifying priority areas.
“The minister should prepare a schedule of the priority areas and report to the House tomorrow,” said Kadaga.
Legislators raised concern over the distribution of the funds saying that the ministry should ensure that all affected regions are covered.
Hon. Barnabas Tinkasimire pointed out that there should be no repeat of reports where the Minister for Disaster was accused of misusing funds.
Hon. Hellen Asamo called for affirmative action for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) while distributing relief.
“PWDs miss out because distribution of relief items is characterised by struggles which we cannot engage in,” she said.
In October this year, the Meteorogical Department forecast that the country would experience above-normal rains between the months of September and December.