9 February 2012
This week, the Uganda Red Cross began distributing essential household items to 4,000 families recovering from floods and landslides in September 2011.
Heavy rains which caused the disaster resulted in 34 deaths and affected more than 15,600 families whose homes and belongings were damaged or destroyed.
The British Red Cross and Department for International Development (DFID) are supporting the response and have given £244,000 to help communities in Bulambuli, Sironko, Kween, Amuria, Katakwi, Nakapiripirit and Kisoro districts.
Dealing with disasters
Uganda Red Cross secretary general Michael Richard Nataka said: “We are building on work that has already been done to help communities recover. Some families lost everything in the landslides and floods and our distributions of blankets, kitchen sets, soap, jerry cans and mosquito nets will help them get back on their feet.
“We’re also providing these relief goods to some families hosting people whose homes were partially or completely destroyed.”
Red Cross support
Regina Nambozo, 34, was among 1, 000 beneficiaries of the relief items. Nambozo, who is expecting her fourth child, had her house washed away by the floods, but is still smiling: “Everything in my house was destroyed. I am now renting a house in Muyembe trading centre. This support is a surprise. I did not expect it since I had missed when Red Cross distributed items last year.”
Nambozo received two mosquito nets as part of the items, as her previous mosquito net was eaten by rats. “I am very happy. The mosquitoes will not bite me now,” she said.
Office attendant Yokoramu Mayuya, 76, had one of his houses destroyed in a terrible landslide in Bulambuli district. He now lives with seven relatives in another house adjacent to the one that was destroyed: “The landslides affected one of my houses. I talked to the Red Cross during the assessments of this tragedy. I am very very happy.”
Preparing for disasters
Disasters such as floods and landslides are a recurring problem in Uganda, affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year. In addition to working with the Ugandan government and other humanitarian players to respond to disasters, the Red Cross is committed to helping communities be better prepared for future hazards.
Nataka said: “Greater action is needed by communities, the government and humanitarian organisations to reduce the risk and impact of disasters. We are continuing to develop our work in this area and believe communities have a key role to play in identifying risks and developing solutions to mitigate them.”