Kasese battles the aftermath of destructive floods

Aijuka Andrew, May 07, 2021

Kasese communities in western Uganda face increasing danger from floods. The level of risk is more closely tied to their proximity with River Nyamwamba, which bursts its banks almost annually, displacing communities.

One of the worst affected public facilities was Kilembe Mines hospital. This central health facility had been serving the Kasese district community and neighboring communities in Uganda since 1951. It was, however, submerged by floods after River Nyamwamba burst its banks in May last year. 

The May 10, 2020 floods washed away part of the hospital’s wards, it’s mortuary and drug store worth 2.5 billion Uganda shillings. 

The hospital was located close to River Nyamwamba, an area prone to flooding, having flooded in May 2013, May 2014, and July 2015, May 2020. 

It was established to serve the staff of the nearby Kilembe Mines. However, before destruction, it was a health sanctuary for most communities in western Uganda, being famous for its excellent orthopedic services. 

A year after the destructive floods struck, the hospital is yet to recover from the effects of the catastrophe. And its destruction and relocation have caused a strain on the local community, especially as they struggle to find appropriate services for their sick persons.

Although the government relocated this hospital to the main town in Kasese, just in a daycare center donated by the catholic church, the community in the hills of Kilembe decry high costs they incur while transporting the sick to receive medical attention at the new site of the hospital.

The Hospital administrator Mr. Onesmus Bahonekha advocates for more structures since the current setting is meant to accommodate a kindergarten school.

As one of the remedies to the transport challenges, two ambulances remain stationed at the destroyed hospital, ready to transport patients to the new site. 

Geoffrey Kivumbi Muwanga, the local council one leader and chairperson of Namuga Northwest, Bulebya Division, says that the ambulances are meant for only exceptional cases such as women in .labor 

Most of the businesses that sprung up at the hospital had to close after the hospital relocated.

Muwanga cites three markets Kajuki, Katili, and Kiseminti, that he says had to close due to lack of customers, who were mainly patients and their caretakers.

“All these businesses are closed; people are no longer getting proper incomes… all the markets are completely gone,” “notes Muwanga.

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