By Javier Silas Omagor, New Vision/NECJOGHA
Mbale, Uganda- Heavy rain which is being experienced in several parts of eastern Uganda has damaged the Leresi Bridge on Mbale- Butaleja road affecting transport along the route. However, according to residents the bridge had developed a crack some two weeks ago.
The bridge was washed away by flash floods triggered by heavy rains on Tuesday that have been pounding Mt Elgon Sub-region for the last two weeks. The rain also destroyed gardens of crops like cassava, potatoes, beans, maize, groundnuts and livestock.
Commuters who use the road were stranded in the flood prone Butaleja district for hours and motorists have been forced to divert to Bunghanji in Budaka District to connect to Mbale town. Ali Hubala, a trader and farmer in Kachonga, says the situation has affected his operations since he cannot easily access the market.
Fredrick Higenyi, a resident says it has become very costly for him to use long alternative routes since he has to travel every day to Mbale town to work.
“I was spending UShs12.000 per day to travel to and fro, but the cost has now gone up by UShs 10, 000,” Higenyi said.
The other alternative for those travelling to Butaleja from Mbale is through Maliki stage where they later cross from the Namulo Bridge.
Richard Waya, the Butaleja district chairperson says the district is very much aware of the situation and that they have since delivered the road equipment to the damaged bridge to ensure that repairs begin.
“Because this happens frequently with floods displacing people, destroying crops and damaging bridges and roads, we have since the beginning of this year been on standby so as to respond timely.” Waya said in an interview. “It will not take long until we are done repairing the bridge along Mbale road.”
Mbale – Butaleja route is the busiest road in the district and therefore is of a significant economic value to the residents in Butaleja.
In some areas, the floods have also displaced residents from their homesteads. The most affected sub counties are Himutu, Mazimasa, Kachonga and Butaleja town council.