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Prepare for rain, Uganda’s meteorological authority warns

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority has advised district authorities to prepare for possible disasters linked to the impending rains. They confirmed that rains will resume in early March with a peak in May that will be characterized by a lot of lightning and thunderstorms.

The director of the meteorological authority Festus Luboyera briefed the press on Friday about the March to May 2017 seasonal rainfall outlook over Uganda. He advised that measures to respond to disasters must be set up and efforts taken to encourage people in prone areas to relocate were possible.

“Overall, there is an increased probability for above normal rainfall for western Uganda, normal rainfall for central, Lake Victoria Basin, south-eastern, and central northern Uganda, and below normal for Karamoja region and parts of Lango and Acholi regions,” said Luboyera.

He revealed that districts in Eastern Uganda – Jinja, Mayuge, Kamuli, Iganga, Bugiri, Namayingo, Luuka, Namutumba, Buyende, Kaliro, Busia and Tororo – that have been experiencing dry conditions since December would receive seasonal rains around early to mid March and the peak expected around late May.

“Farmers in these regions where rainfall onset is expected need to start securing inputs and early land preparations, which will allow timely planting” said Luboyera.

He said they should consider planting long maturing crops like millet, rice, sorghum, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes on the start of rains and short quick maturing crops later as the rain progress such as legumes, root tubers and vegetables.

Luboyera also said that the ministry of health should scale up provision of mosquito nets, sensitize the public about waterborne diseases and provide medicine in areas that could be affected.

“There is need to increase disease surveillance due to expected upsurges of epidemics of diseases related to rainy season such as malaria, cholera, bilharzia and typhoid, also increases in lower respiratory diseases e.g. Asthma due to humid conditions and allergies from some flowering plants are expected”.

In terms of the transports sector, it is anticipated that near rainfall patterns are likely to be occasionally accompanied by intense rainfall events that may lead to flash flooding in some localized places especially in Kampala and other urban areas.

He warned urban authorities to clear and reduce blockades of the drainage systems to avoid water logging streets.

Luboyera said the forecast has been translated in 35 different local languages for audio and text messages to be disseminated to communities .

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editor@independent.co.ug

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