Speaker Anita Among Urges Government to Act Mbale Floods (1)
According to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the government has already begun distributing relief items to flood-affected residents of Mbale. PHOTO/UBC

Anita Among, Speaker of Parliament, has called on the government to be more proactive and develop more solutions for residents of Mbale.

Following the flash floods that devastated Mbale and Kapchorwa districtsSpeaker of Parliament Anita Among has asked the government to take proactive measures and come up with better solutions for residents.

Speaking during a parliamentary sitting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said the government has already relief items to aid the locals in Mbale who were affected by the floods.

“Government through the ministry of Disaster Preparedness, under the office of the Prime Minister has provided relief food to the tune of 90 metric tons to Mbale City, Kapchorwa and Mbale district.” Nabbanja said has finalised preparations to see that these items get to those concerned.

Responding to her submission, Speaker Anita Among urged they should be more proactive in monitoring the situation to see that in future no deaths are recorded from flooding.

“What we want is a team on the ground. We need action; lamentations here are just for your own good. I also urge the executive to establish reliable disaster early warning systems to save lives,” Among said.

This, however, comes at a time when close to 30 people deaths have so far been registered following the disaster.

Speaking earlier this week, Fred Enanga the police spokesperson urged individuals more so those residing in low-lying areas to evacuate to safer places or higher grounds such that in case of any sudden floods, they are not easily affected.

Enanga also tipped on what can be done in case of a flood. Among others, he cautioned drivers not to gamble with their safety by trying to drive through the deep waters.

“You need to be careful because, flowing water applies pressure to contact areas. The higher the speed, the higher the pressure, and can sweep you off on your car. When in a car, the force increases rapidly on the under side of the vehicle and starts to lift it up and float. It is therefore, advisable to open the doors and windows and let water inside the car, other than being swept away.”

“Many drivers gamble with their safety by driving through flood water which puts the lives of drivers and their passengers at risk. As a driver, be aware of your car limitations. If you can become submerged, do not panic. Carefully release your safety belt and roll down the window, then get out of the car and swim to safety. Do not stay in the car until it sinks,” Enanga said.

In the case of standing water, he said although this does not exert pressure, it can lift a person or vehicle and float it. The car becomes impossible to move forward. 

He said when the car is moving fast over a layer of water, it can start to aquaplane, especially if the tyres are worn out making the driver lose control.

“Pans and mashes are treacherous as it may appear solid, but may only have a thin dry crust. The vehicle or person may disappear before your eyes in a marsh. The more you struggle the faster it will sink,” he said.

“When rivers are overflowing their banks, the flow of water will cause light objects, trees, to float. This could block the flow of water at obstructions and channels the water and cause rapids to form. Avoid these rapids.”

In addition, he cautioned individuals to stay away from low water bridges during the wet season because these are usually designed without rails and will collect excessive amounts of debris. 

“If you cannot see the small pillars do not attempt to cross the bridge,” the police spokesperson also reminds individuals to protect their phones from damage such that in case of any damage they can easily seek help.

“Avoid flooded areas at night because the chances of survival are slim. When your body is exposed to cold temperature, it shocks your system. Treat yourself for shock by staying calm, relaxed and start to warm up the body gradually. Your cell phone can be the biggest help. Wrap it in a plastic bag and ensure it does not get wet.”

“For those who cannot swim and trapped. Try to always face upstream and make yourself as light as possible by removing extra clothes and shoes. Stay away from white foaming aerated water, it will soft and you will sink deeper into the water,” Enanga added.