At least 24 dead after intense flooding hits eastern Uganda

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Floods in Uganda over the weekend have killed at least two dozen people after massive rainstorms hit the country.

The disaster was concentrated around the city of Mbale, home to nearly 100,000 people, as well as other corners of eastern Uganda.

A spokesperson for the Ugandan Red Cross told Reuters that 21 bodies have been retrieved in Mbale, with three more from the nearby region of Kapchorwa.

Photos from Agence France-Presse show people trying to pull flood victims out of a minibus in the Nabuyonga River in the Mbale region. The victims were reportedly partygoers who became trapped in the vehicle as the floods hit.

Floodwaters were seen knocking down homes and banana trees, reports the Associated Press.

In addition, more than 5,600 people were displaced and 400,000 people were lacking clean water in the wake of the disaster, reports The Guardian. Three medical centres in Mbale have also been damaged, the paper reports.

More rain is predicted in the region, and the government is urging people to evacuate flood-prone areas, The Guardian adds.

Ugandan Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has visited the region to review the damage and console the victims’ families, according to her office.

This region around Mbale has a high risk of deaths from floods since many people live right along rivers and in hilly areas, AP says.

Onlookers watch as people search for flood victims at the Nabuyonga River in Uganda on Tuesday (AFP via Getty Images)
Onlookers watch as people search for flood victims at the Nabuyonga River in Uganda on Tuesday (AFP via Getty Images)

The floods come after an extensive drought has plagued parts of the country.

Flooding is the most dangerous natural hazard in Uganda, affecting around 50,000 people and causing $62m in damages every year, according to the World Bank.

The climate crisis could exacerbate floods as storms intensify and dump more and more rain. Already, the climate crisis has led to worse inland flooding in many parts of the world, including Africa, the Arctic, small islands and mountainous regions, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a leading authority on global climate science.

Other recent flooding events include last week’s floods in eastern Kentucky, which killed at least 37 people, and massive floods that swept through Yellowstone National Park earlier in the summer.

Reuters contributed to this report

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