MPs question Gov't preparedness to handle disasters

1230 Views Kampala, Uganda
Members of Parliament are questioning Government's preparedness to handle emergencies across the Country. The MPs concerns stem from an influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the recurring floods in the Teso Sub-Region. UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency said yesterday that an estimated 10,000 people entered Uganda through Ishasha border town to Kanungu District. The influx is the highest in a single day since the recent fighting broke out in North Kivu. Tarsis Kabwegyere the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees today presented a status report to Parliament explaining Government plans to settle the new arrivals. Kabwegyere told Parliament that his Ministry had advised UNHCR to set up a reception centre at Matanda to handle the influx as they await relocation to Nakivale Refugee Settlement camp. He said that the Ministry would provide food relief to the Districts handling the refugees. Kabwegyere's statement was however dismissed by some legislators who argued that the Minister did not address the pertinent issues facing refugees and displaced persons in the Country. The Ministry has been conspicuously absent on since the fighting broke out in North Kivu Province leaving most of the interventions to humanitarian agencies. Legislators from areas that host refugees and displaced persons tasked Tarsis Kabwegyere to explain his Ministry's detailed plans to intervene in emergency situations. Of particular concern to the legislators was the failure by the Ministry to promptly supply humanitarian aid and ease the strain on the Health services resulting from the influx of refugees. Patrick Ochieng Peter, MP Bukoli South in Bugiri District says the Ministry is not well prepared to handle emergencies. Last month his constituency was hit by a storm displacing over 10,000 people. The MP says it took him four weeks to secure food rations from the Ministry for his displaced constituents. Ochieng says some of the displaced persons are sleeping in the open without adequate shelter after the roof tops of their houses were blown off by the storm. //Cue in: iIt took me four weeks to# Cue out: #a hard to reach area.i// John Odit Erute County South MP says he is disappointed that the Minister has not addressed the health concerns in relation to possible outbreaks of epidemics particularly in the border towns. Odit who has just returned from Ishasha border post together with some legislators also says the Minister in his statement fails to adequately address the issue of food and drug shortages in the border communities. //Cue in: iThe Minister was much more# Cue out: #was highly regrettable.i//


Tagged with: mps on refugees