Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Elegu Town Council in Amuru District have tasked leaders to properly plan for infrastructure at the Uganda – South Sudan border to avert floods and fire incidents.
Established in early 2012 after South Sudan’s breakaway from Sudan in 2011, Elegu has evolved to be one of the busiest and high volume border points of entry in Uganda, with a population of over 15,000 people. Over the years, the population has suffered from unprecedented flash floods and destructive seasonal fires due to congestion compounded by improper infrastructural development.
The latest of the fire outbreaks occurred on February 10, leaving over 100 traders counting losses. Throughout 2020, heavy and persistent torrential rains submerged the better part of the Town Council, displaced over 650 families and destroyed several settlements including businesses. The impact was grave on human lives and livestock.
David Otto, a member of the business community explains that the latest inferno destroyed his timber store worth over 38 million Shillings. He attributed this to congestion in the area where residential houses and business makeshift structures are indistinctive.
Jennifer Kyomuhendo, a food vendor in the area says unplanned settlement patterns such as lack of access roads in Elegu has attracted calamities such as floods and destructive inferno caused by uncontrolled congestion. She explains that the congestion has caused several accidents for her colleagues.
Ivan Kakaire, an official with Uganda Revenue Authority attached to the customs department at the border says the annual unimaginable calamities experienced at the cross border is regrettable and needs an everlasting solution.
Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, the Resident District Commissioner explains that the unplanned settlement at Elegu has compelled the district leadership to commence consultations to devise an appropriate plan for the border town.
In 2018, Amuru District Local Government signed memos worth 1.8 billion Shillings with the Ministry of Trade facilitated by TradeMark East Africa to enlarge the banks of River Unyama and expand the drainage system as part of a structural plan for Elegu Township. However, the process has since stalled following the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease and the persistent floods that rendered the border town inaccessible to a technical team that was dispatched to the area to undertake a feasibility study.