Last week, 30 people died in floods that swept through Mbale City after the rivers of Nabuyonga, Namatala, and Nashibiso burst their banks.
Hundreds of people were displaced, and many animals were killed. This, according to the opposition leaders Mathias Mpuuga and John Baptist Nambeshe, is due to the government’s negligence and called on the residents to sue the government.
They blamed the government for the slow response and wondered where the police were that night to block the traffic on the roads submerged by floods that drowned people.
Commenting on the opposition leaders’ advice, Olive Najjuma The Fatboy Show presenter supported it saying that the government has a Disaster and Preparedness Ministry that over the years has been unprepared for calamities.
“We know that in Mbale, seasonal rains cause floods yearly. We have a Ministry of Disasater and Preparedness and it never prepared,” she said.
"The reason we have ministries is to research and be prepared, suggest solutions and when the rains start, they effectively act. At the beginning of the month, we were informed of the heavy rains that may result in calamities similar to what happened in Mbale, so why were we not prepared," Olive asked.
In contrast, James Onen said that although the government is partly to blame for the slow response, the people also have a responsibility to deal with avoiding activities such as deforestation that increase the risk of floods.
“Who is cutting down the trees, isn’t it the people?” he queried, adding that even if it is out of ignorance, it can’t be an excuse to justify their activities accelerating the floods.
A contributor to the show named Mrisho acknowledged that people in the city need to adopt tree planting activities but also expressed concern over the government’s slow response to calamities that have befallen the region multiple times.
“ If Mbale had a quick response many lives would have been saved. But the response is too poor. The city’s Police Commander said they had only two response vehicles, yet we know Mbale is a high-risk area for flooding. So the government should have been prepared for it because it had the time and information,” Mrisho said.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.