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Parliament Tasks UNRA On Karuma Bridge

Speaker Among has urged Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to expedite the repairs along Karuma bridges in order to minimize the delays road users are encountering during the works noting, “On 3rd May 2024, Uganda National Roads Authority issued a public notice on the deterioration of the Karuma Bridge and effective today, the access to the bridge will be restricted to only passenger vehicle carrying about 28 people, and alternative routes have been provided and of course we know what it comes with, the implication of the cost, the delays and all that. The work is being worked on and I want to urge them to expedite the working on the road.”

Speaker Among has asked the Minister of Disaster Preparedness to update the nation on Uganda’s preparedness to avert any eventual disaster that may happen in Uganda, following similar occurrences happening in Kenya and Tanzania where torrential rains have claimed lives and destroyed properties.

“Last week we talked about the disaster that is happening in most of the areas, it is worsening in Kenya and we really condone with our brothers and sisters in Kenya of what is happening and the same is likely to come over and I also ask the Minister of Disaster to give us information on what action has been taken especially in areas that we talked about. We would like a statement from the Minister on how far she has gone and how prepared are we, the fact that it is happening in Kenya, Tanzania, how ready are we as Ugandans to mitigate the disaster that is happening in the country? How are we going to handle it?” remarked Among.

Jonathan Odur (Erute South) blamed Gov’t for ignoring warnings by experts on the impact Karuma Dam on the Karuma bridge, saying the decision to ignore these warnings impacted on the lifespan of the bridge.

“There is something that Gov’t had overlooked when we were constructing that the new dam at Karuma, there is reasonable suspicion should be suspected to studies. That the feasibility studies of the impact on the bridge itself, the bridge deteriorated faster and while this was brought to the attention of Government in the 10th Parliament, of the status of that bridge, no action took place since then,” said Odur.

Leader of Opposition, Joel Ssenyonyi asked Gov’t to update Ugandans on their readiness to avert the catastrophe in Kenya and Tanzania, given that the water levels in Lake Victoria are getting higher.

“My worry is, what is happening in Kenya could very potentially happen here in Uganda. How ready are we to avert such a situation? It is important that Government talks to us about such a situation. Climate change is real and it is hitting us hard, we saw the devastating effects in far off countries like Dubai-United Arab Emirates, some people thought it was quite far, but now, it is right at our door steps. Torrential downpours have caused devastating effects next door here in Kenya. It is reported that over 200 people have been confirmed dead because of heavy flooding, about 100 are missing 170,000 are displaced and the situation is going to get worse,” said Ssenyonyi.

Ssenyonyi also sought for an update on how far Government has gone with the enactment of the Disaster Bill that had earlier been proposed in 2018, only to be abandoned later, saying such a legislation would inform Government’s planning and funding for disaster management in Uganda.

“In 2018, Government was mooting the idea of the Disaster Management Bill but it didn’t see light of the day. Is Government still interested in this? Maybe we should bring it as private member’s bill so that we have a proper foundation, and we get to plan because if we don’t plan and we give you money, what are you going to put it to use towards? Here in Uganda, things are pounding and the Uganda National Meteorological Authority has told us, it is only going to get worse. As MPs are sharing, bridges are breaking, roads are caving in and the situation is going to get more problematic. We need to find a separate budget for disaster preparedness, even before we move to that direction, let us set a proper foundation firstly with the law,” added Ssenyonyi.

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