Kampala. Malteser International is preparing assistance for people affected in the Kasese district of western Uganda following the region’s worst flooding in almost 50 years. Days of torrential rains have triggered devastating floods that have caused four major rivers to burst their banks, forcing thousands from their homes and destroying roads, bridges and public buildings.
Laura Beutler, Technical Coordinator for Malteser International in Uganda, said: "The largest hospital in Kasese has had to be evacuated, leaving people there without much-needed medical care. We will be sending eight ambulances and a medical team in support of health facilities in the district. A lack of urgent medical care would be catastrophic, especially under the present circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The floodwaters have damaged homes, latrines and water sources in Kasese district. Some 30,000 people are now homeless. “This disaster could have major implications for the COVID-19 response in the area,” said Beutler. “Those displaced have been forced to seek refuge in makeshift shelters where social distancing is practically impossible. The risk of COVID-19 spreading there is now high. To reduce the risk of infection, Malteser International will be providing daily access to clean water for up to 1,000 people affected by the flooding. We will also be working with our partners to provide information on safety measures against the novel coronavirus.”
Since late April, exceptional heavy seasonal rains have resulted in widespread across East Africa, killing nearly 300 people and causing a heavy loss of property. The disaster is compounding the risks to human health and food security from the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst locust infestation in decades.
Note to editors:
Laura Beutler, Technical Coordinator for Malteser International in Uganda, is available for interviews from Kampala, Uganda.
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Malteser International is calling for donations to support relief efforts.