On June 2, some parts of Wakiso District where I was at the time, received very intense rainfall for about an hour and half. I stood by the window and took note of some indicators of its intensity.
The rain was so heavy that one could hardly walk in it, even with an umbrella. It paralysed all outdoor activities. Secondly, strong winds accompanied it. One wonders whether these are indicators of a season at its peak, or end.
Because the rain came faster than the soil could absorb, a lot of runoff at terrific speed, swept away things in its way. Maize, beans and banana gardens were almost flattened as both wind and soil erosion acted on them. Trenches were filled with both soil and garbage deposits.
When it stopped raining I looked at the surrounding and I saw deposits of soil settled on the flat parts of the road nearby, including roadsides. Water formed a small pool, covering the lowest part of the road. Electricity was cut off for hours.
Open homesteads were filled with soil and rubbish transported by running water, immediately creating jobs. I could only imagine the impact of such rain on other vulnerable areas such as settlements in wetlands and slums.
Dr Shuaib Lwasa, a lecturer at Makerere University and an author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, notes that “Urban poor settlements such as Bwaise, Kinawataka, Nateete, Ndeeba, Katwe are prone to increased flush floods that destroy roads, culverts, drainage systems, houses and water supply.
The secondary impacts manifest in the form of disturbance of public transportation, disease outbreaks and decline in economic productivity due to loss of labour time and direct health costs”. Indeed, one van transporting school children was swept off the road into a trench. All survived without any injuries.
Well, I quickly checked on the March to May weather forecast that the Ministry of Water and Environment issued at the beginning of March.
It warned that in this part of the country (central) and I quote, “Onset of seasonal rain is expected to be accompanied by strong and destructive winds as well as hailstorms and thereafter, rain is expected to intensify with the peak seasonal rain occurring around mid-April. The cessation is expected around early to mid-June 2015”.
Intense rainfall is expected to increase in the future. Scientists observing climate change trends warn that as emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise (and they will continue as long as the global community does not revisit the development and consumption patterns), temperatures will continue to rise. More frequent and intense droughts are expected.
I spoke to some coffee farmers in the last dry season, which was prolonged and was particularly extreme. Many coffee plants dried up.
The yield for those that survived was very miserable, with small coffee beans that fetch a low price.
India recently experienced a heat wave reportedly due to climate change, killing 2,330 people, according to CNN.
Authorities urged the people to “have light-colour clothes, take care, be in cool areas, and to stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, from 11am to 4pm” .
Such a scenario may happen in Uganda.
Uganda’s Vision 2040 proposes to develop “appropriate adaptation and mitigating strategies on climate change in all sectors to increase the country’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.
To this effect, knowledge and information sharing with the relevant stakeholders on climate Change and variability will be the starting point,” the report notes.
We must all heed this important pronouncement.
Ms Nanduddu is interested in the climate change subject. email@example.com