By Wilson Kutamba
Recent climatic events, including destructive hailstorms and floods, have prompted district leaders and key stakeholders to call upon the government of Uganda for support in their ambitious initiative to safeguard biodiversity as a strategy to combat climate-induced disasters.
Following these severe climate events that caused significant damage to Kabateema village in Kaliiro sub-county, a thorough assessment by local authorities identified 54 families profoundly impacted by the climatic disturbances.
Ben Kavuya, a renowned businessman in Kampala, played a pivotal role in intensifying the importance of the conservation campaign.
Demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the cause, Kavuya promptly stepped in by delivering essential relief aid in the form of 1,300 kilograms of maize flour to support the affected families.
His swift response stood in contrast to the delayed action from the Office of the Prime Minister, through its disaster preparedness department.
In his statement, Kavuya urged both central and local governments to prioritise initiatives aimed at educating the local population on environmental conservation best practices.
He further stressed the importance of reinforcing laws, ordinances and bylaws that protect sensitive areas like wetlands and combating ongoing deforestation to mitigate the hazards currently faced by the community.
Extensive deforestation in the area has left the Kabateema Hills barren and vulnerable to hailstorms, and various types of winds are contributing to the destructive hailstorms.
Kavuya further emphasised that planting trees should be a cornerstone in government programs, such as the Parish Development Model. He stressed the critical nature of providing people with the means to feed themselves to ensure their survival.
One of the affected individuals and beneficiaries of Kavuya’s aid, Abel Mutungi, pointed out that most residents are already grappling with food shortages and shelter as their plantations and houses were destroyed by the storms.
While expressing gratitude for Kavuya’s assistance, Mutungi emphasised the need for continued support until the affected families can stand on their own feet. He lamented the devastating loss of everything, including homes and crops.
Fred Muhangi, the Lyantonde District (LC5) Chairperson, praised the businessman’s donation and called upon the government to step in for further assistance of the affected families.
Muhangi revealed that a list of 800 families from both Kaliro sub-county and Kaliiro town council had been submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister for relief items, but the much-needed assistance was still pending.
“We submitted a list of 800 families from both Kaliro sub-county and Kaliiro town council to the Office of Prime Minister for relief items, but up to now we are still waiting,” he claimed.
Robert Kiyemba, the Kabateema LCIII chairperson, applauded Kavuya’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of Lyantonde residents.
As the community rallies together in the face of climate-induced disasters, there is a growing sense of urgency. The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has issued a seasonal forecast predicting heavy rainfall for the next four months, encompassing September, October, November, and December (SOND).
Deus Bamanya, the director for applied meteorology data and climate services at UNMA, cautioned the public to brace for rainfall levels that surpass the normal range.
In light of this forecast and the ongoing climatic challenges, Lyantonde District leaders, stakeholders, and the affected community members await government intervention to bolster their efforts in biodiversity protection and climate change resilience.
The collective hope is that such support will safeguard the region from future climate-induced disasters and promote sustainable living in Kabateema and its surroundings.