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Butaleja Residents Destroy Flood Warning Equipment Over Alleged Miscarriages

A flood detection system

Residents in Butaleja district are said to have destroyed the floods early warning systems after women raised concerns that the system had led to a number of abortions among expectant mothers in their area.

The revelation was made by Esther Anyakun, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness during the plenary sitting, while issuing a statement on Government’s plan of action on disaster risk reduction and management following the return of the rains, a season that is synonymous with disasters.

The Minister informed Parliament that Office of the Prime Minster in coordination with Ministry of Water and Environment installed two flood early warning systems on the sub catchments of Aswa and Manafwa with validation of data and systems ongoing and the Early Warning Systems are expected to contribute to greater prediction of future flood events in the surrounding districts affected by those rivers.

However, the angry residents in Butaleja destroyed the system with the Minister remarking, “We had similar equipment installed in Butaleja, it is supposed to make noise the moment the water is rising, but the people of Butaleja demolished because it has ghosts or something. They said it is carrying some ghosts and some women are getting abortions because of that machine.”

But despite the actions of the residents in Butaleja, Minister Anyakun said such actions won’t deter Government from implementing a similar system  on the Nyamwamba sub catchment to ensure prediction of flash floods in Rwenzori.

John Baptist Nambeshe (Majiya County) wondered whether such a system is needed yet there are God given warning signs when landslides are about to occur on Mountain Elgon, due to the visibility of cracks on the mountain.

He said, “Would you need early warning systems or gadgets where God has provided one, like cracks. We are talking about numerous cracks in the high risk mountainous terrains and honestly you talk about early warnings systems. This we should already thank God. What I expected is an emergency, swift relocation of the people living in those high risk fields.”

Minister Anyakun also decried the lack of funding advanced to the Disaster Risk Management plan by Ministry of Finance since the approval by Cabinet on in July 2022 stating, “The funding requirement for the short term period between 2022123 – 2024 /25 equivalent to the Presidential pledge of $50m (UGX 185bn) has not yet been realized from a total of 867bn over 1O years. Similarly, MOFPED is yet to release the GOU component under the cash transfer for resettlement in Elgon.”

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