Climate change: How flash flooding is Kampala’s worst nightmare

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Climate change: How flash flooding is Kampala’s worst nightmare

Flash flooding has become a nightmare for the people of Kampala, Uganda‘s largest city and capital, due to rising temperatures, and it impacts almost 50,000 Ugandans every year.

Little wonder the country ranks 10th on the list of top 10 African countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.

Flooding in Kampala did not just begin. In fact, the city has always experienced a heavy rainy season (usually from March to May and from October to November) but currently, the rains occur more frequently (from March until the year’s end) and this is is caused by climate change.

Flash floods usually occur during heavy rainfall mainly because drains and sewers are unable to deal with the intense downpour.

The increased rainfall, due to extreme weather conditions that are driven by climate change, has increased flash flooding which has wreaked havoc on the city and has resulted in a number of problems — contaminated water supply, displacements, diseases, inability to farm, commuting disruption, and death.

Urban areas in Kampala are the most vulnerable to flash flooding due to the high concentration of buildings and population.

Sadly, slum communities are worse off because they are at major risk of drinking polluted water because when there is flash flooding. With freshwater becoming polluted due to poor sewage and sanitation systems, there’s a growing increase in diseases like dysentery and cholera.

Coupled with that, slum communities are often too poor to rebuild damaged properties and businesses after being hit by flooding — leaving them homeless and without a livelihood.

Even crops are not spared. As the flooding increases, food crops get washed away and lands that were once fertile become barren. This has a severe impact on food production and jeopardizes food security.

As the days go by in Kampala, climate change effects such as extreme weather conditions and inland flooding, are expected to increase the overall vulnerability of urban areas.

This is where the government and concerned citizens must come in. They need to take into account the vulnerable natural and human systems that exist in urban areas and their surroundings in order to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Roads, water networks, and other infrastructures should be put in place to lessen the impact of flash flooding in risk-prone areas.

Finally, effective climate change and disaster policy communication services should be given top priority as they are very important to fortifying vulnerable cities.

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