Uganda's first wet season causes destruction

Uganda (iStock)
Uganda (iStock)

In Uganda, which officially has two rainy seasons, the short rains should have just finished - June is at the end of the first wetter season of the year.

Southern Uganda does not really have these seasons, but has what might be described as wetter and drier seasons. The region is used to frequent thunderstorms and its border with Lake Victoria helps it to have a reputation as the lightning-strike capital of the world.

Inevitably flooding and landslides result from sudden downpours. At least five people were killed and dozens went missing on June 4 following heavy rain and landslides in several villages in Bududa District, eastern Uganda.

Saturday brought another downpour and destructive flooding to Mukono, a town to the east of the capital, Kampala, in the Kame valley.

Jamada Kajjoba, deputy mayor of the Mukono municipality, said authorities had long warned people against living in wetlands, but the residents did not heed their call.

"We reached out to people occupying wetlands and sensitised them about dangers, but they sat back," he said.

Kampala itself has been suffering badly this year. According to Africanews.com, at least eight people have died in flash flooding, with roads cut off and widespread damage due to heavy rains.

June and July are, on average, two of the four drier months of the year on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, but thunderstorms are no respecters of averages. Lake Victoria can produce thunderstorms at any time of year, driving violent squalls which are a hazard to fishermen. These thunderstorms often move inland so the threat of flash-floods is ever present.

In the forecast for the next two days, eastern Uganda remains at risk of thunderstorms but most of Uganda looks drier. The main rain belt, the inter-tropical convergence zone, is moving north with the sun.

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