The rainy season expected to continue

Widespread moderate to very heavy rains are expected to continue through much of the region next week, according to a regional forecast issued this week.

The forecasters in a report released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWNET), warn that the rains are expected to come with associated risk of flooding in Kenya, eastern Uganda, rift valley regions of Ethiopia and southern Somalia.

It says during the next seven days, heavy rainfall is forecast over much of Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and southern and central Somalia.

During the second half of the forecast period, rainfall is expected to become less widespread and will be concentrated over southwestern and eastern Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, coastal Kenya, and northern and coast.

The report says rainfall has been above average over broad areas of Somalia, eastern and southern Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi.  It observes that initial satellite-derived estimates suggest rainfall since late March has been as much as 200 percent of average across many areas.

The observers say favorable seasonal performance over the past 30 days has contributed to a continuation of timely and well-distributed rains that had already resulted in seasonal rainfall surpluses across much of the region.

“Overall, seasonal rainfall totals in excess of 150 percent of average have been observed across much of the region, though poor performance has been observed in parts of northern Ethiopia.” it said.

In the short-term, forecasts suggest heavy rainfall is likely to continue over the next week in much of the region, which should further strengthen rainfall surpluses in many areas, and may reduce rainfall deficits in parts of northern Ethiopia.

The forecast adds, rainfall is expected to continue in early May but become relatively less widespread and will be concentrated over southwestern and eastern Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, coastal, central and western Kenya, and northern and coastal Tanzania.

In Uganda, the forecast says following a timely onset of seasonal rainfall in March, cumulative rainfall totals are above average.  It says during the past 30 days, rainfall has been near average through much of the country.



Rubanda Court sessions held at district headquarters compound, magistrate sits on the ground

The Grade Two magistrates Court in Rubanda is now operating at the District Headquarters compound due to lack of structures and furniture. The only available court room is too small to accommodate the Magistrate, lawyers, witnesses, suspects and the audience.

Prior to the creation of the new district last year, court sessions would be held at the County conference (Lukiiko) hall, which was later transformed into the District conference (Lukiiko) hall upon the operationalization of the new district in July.

In the new arrangement, handcuffed suspects, witnesses, sureties and the audience sit on the ground as they listen to the cases read by the magistrate. But locals say that the arrangement is disturbing and are demanding that the district authorities together with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs construct a bigger court room.

Joseph Maguru 59, a resident from Hamurwa Sub County says that he was devastated when a prison warder told him that a person he had visited at the court was among the crowd that was seated on the ground, in front of a small courtroom. He was equally advised to join the group since the court did not have any furniture for visitors.

Jane Mukandinda, 47, a resident of Karukara in Hamurwa Town Council, Rubanda District was also at the court to stand surety for one of the suspects. Mukandinda described the sight of the court session as shameful.

Silva Baguma, the Rubanda District Vice Chairman says that court sessions in Rubanda and often adjourned whenever the weather changes. During rainy days, everyone scampers to the neighborhoods while suspects are taken back to Rubanda Government Prison for shelter.

Baguma says that lack of furniture is a general problem at the district.

Bernard Kasangaki, the Rubanda District Principle Assistant Secretary says that the District is still financially incapacitated. He however says that the district is willing to offer land to any organisation that would offer to construct a bigger courtroom.

Grade two Magistrate Richard Niwagaba says the matter will be forwarded to the judicial service commission for consideration.



50 left homeless in Mbarara following heavy storms

A heavy storm has destroyed several homes in Mabare central ward in Kashare sub-county Mbarara district living more than fifty residents homeless. Heavy rains pounded the area for 12 hours living a trail of destruction.

Alex Mwebaze, one of the affected residents told URN, that heavy downpour started on Monday at around 2pm and went on up to 2pm on Tuesday. According to Mwebaze, the storm first blew off the roof of his house, before it was submerged by rain water forcing his six children to flee for dear life.

He says the destruction comes after a long dry spell in the area. Denis Muhairwe, the chairperson L C 1 Mabare central cell, says the storm also blew the roof top of two classroom blocks at Mabare C.O.U primary school.

He says over 50 residents have taken refuge at Kashari sub county headquarters following the destruction of their homes. Deus Mugisha, the LC III chairperson Kashare sub-county told URN that the affected residents haven’t received help since the disaster struck the area.

Mugisha says the affected people need seeds for planting to avoid famine in the future. Kashari County, which is found in the cattle corridor, is prone to the dry spell and wild storms.