16,000 Displaced in Uganda After River Semliki Overflows

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on Thursday 06 November 2014 that at least 16,000 people have been displaced by recent floods in Uganda. Around half of the displaced are thought to be children, according to UNICEF Uganda.

The floods occurred in the western Ugandan district of Ntoroko after the River Semliki burst its banks due to heavy rains. The areas worst affected are Bweramule sub county, Butungama sub county, Rwebisengo sub country and Rwebisengo town.

The river first overflowed around 01 November 2014. Initially around 500 people were displaced, but the affected area has since widened. Roads are submerged and many homes in the area have been damaged. Crops and livestock has also been badly affected.

Floods in Ntoroko, Uganda, after the River Semliki burst its banks. Photo: UNICEF
Floods in Ntoroko, Uganda, after the River Semliki burst its banks. Photo: UNICEF

The Ugandan newspaper The Monitor says that the area is frequently under water at this time of year.:

Floods are a chronic problem in Ntotoko which plague the district every rainy season, displacing hundreds of people and leaving a trail destruction.

The also point to human activities being responsible for the regular flooding of the River Semliki

Environment experts say overgrazing, and other alterations to the watershed have caused bank erosion and frequent changes to the course of River Semliki.

Aid and Relief

The Ugandan government have delivered some food aid for the victims after Vice President Edward Ssekandi visited Ntoroko last week.

UNICEF has prepositioned emergency medical supplies including 40,000 water purification tablets to health centres within the affected. However there is still need for additional support and relief items. UNICEF said “Affected population still need more items like food, non-food items, mosquito nets, soap, tents and emergency medicines,”