‘Floods kill at least 24 in Uganda’

Floods in parts of eastern Uganda resulting from torrential rains have killed at least 24 people, the government and Uganda Red Cross said.

The flooding in parts of Bugisu, Mbale and Kapchorwa initially killed 10 people on Sunday, the state ministry in charge of relief, disaster preparedness and refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement late on Sunday.

But the death toll rose further on Monday.

Uganda Red Cross spokesperson, Irene Nakasita, told reporters that so far rescuers had retrieved 21 bodies from Mbale and another three from Kapchorwa.

She said a truck carrying relief supplies was on its way to attend to those displaced in the affected areas.

The torrential rains come right after a prolonged drought in vast swaths of the country that has left many areas parched and crops in fields scorched.

More than 200 people have died from hunger this month in northeastern Uganda, where a prolonged drought and rampant insecurity have left more than half a million facing starvation, a local official and a charity worker said.

Inhabited by nomadic pastoralists, the semi-arid and remote Karamoja region on the border with Kenya has long lagged behind the rest of Uganda in terms of development. A surge of cattle raids by armed groups this year has worsened the situation.

“People like the elderly, lactating mothers and children, they are dying silently in their homes. They just succumb to hunger,” Jino Bornd Meri, the head of local government for Kaabong district, in Karamoja region, told Reuters.

In one county, the district has recorded at least 184 deaths from hunger this month alone, he said.

Moses Okori, leader of the local charity Integrated Community Agriculture and Nutrition (ICAN), said he knew of at least 22 people who had died of hunger this month in Kotido, another district in the region.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) last month said at least 518,000 people, or 40 per cent of the region’s population, were facing high levels of food insecurity.

Local legislator, Faith Nakut, estimated that at least 600 people had died of hunger in the region since early June. -Reuters

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