• Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | As the population continues to grow, more and more land is being reclaimed for residential purposes. However, with this growth comes a heightened risk of natural disasters such as storms, floods, and heavy winds, which can cause extensive damage to life and property.

Unfortunately, natural disasters are unlikely to slow down any time soon, which means it is imperative for homeowners to be well-prepared to deal with such disasters in order to mitigate risks.

Flooding is one of the biggest challenges faced by homeowners in most Ugandan cities, causing extensive physical damage to communities. This damage not only results in property loss and destruction but also stunts economic development, particularly during the rainy season.

Edris Munyaneza is one such homeowner who was affected by flooding. Last year, Munyaneza bought a plot of land in Kabingo Town Council in Isingiro District for USh15m with the intention of constructing his own home.

However, as the season changed from dry to rainy, Munyaneza lost hope when his plot of land got submerged under water and flooded for months.

“I feel as if I was defrauded because I cannot recognize the plot of land I bought. When I consulted a structural engineer about the possibility of salvaging the land, he said it would cost me more than Shs100m to build a foundation that would withstand future flooding. I do not have that kind of money, so I have given up on the land,” says Munyaneza.

Research Before Purchasing Land

Herbert Tushabe, the operations manager at Amity Realtors, suggests that before buying land, it is important to first carry out private research on the land to determine if it is disaster-prone. This can involve asking about the history of hazards in the area and their previous impact. This information can help prospective homeowners make informed decisions and also prepare for what they might need in the future to protect their property.

If one is unable to carry out this research themselves, Tushabe advises retaining the services of a trusted and qualified real estate agent who can easily get this information.

Tushabe urges people not to rush to buy land because they have money.

Instead, he suggests that people go through a land acquisition process that includes processes such as environment and zoning regulations. If concerns arise, it is better to look for another property.

Consult Professionals

Amos Kusingura, a civil engineer from Mbarara City, notes that in situations where someone may have been hoodwinked into buying land in a disaster-prone area, they should first consult professionals such as engineers and architects before giving up on the property or embarking on a potentially disastrous construction project.

“Constructing in disaster-prone areas might even be double the cost of a normal site. Engage professionals to review the extent of your building vulnerability and how to go about it. For example, if the property is prone to flooding, you may have your building elevated and the foundation strengthened or equipped with flood vents to allow water to enter and exit easily,” he advises.

The quality of the construction is usually the first line of defence against natural disasters. It is advisable to ascertain the extreme weather events in the area that might be most at risk to determine what can be done to protect the property from such situations.

Insurance for Natural Disasters

Another way to protect your investment is by obtaining the right insurance policy. Various insurance policies cover natural disasters, and obtaining one will not necessarily prevent damage, but it means that you will be compensated in case a disaster strikes.

According to Faith Ekudu, the public relations officer of the Uganda Insurers’ Association, homeowners can insure their residential and commercial properties and contents therein such as furniture, electronics, and other personal belongings against various risks such as fire, theft, and natural disasters.

The insurance policy provides financial protection to the homeowner in case of any damage or loss to the insured property or contents.

The homeowner pays a premium to the insurance company, and in return, the insurance company covers the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property or contents up to the policy limit.

It’s important for homeowners to carefully review their insurance policies to understand what is covered and what is not. For instance, some policies may have exclusions or limits on coverage for certain types of damage or losses.

Homeowners should also keep an inventory of their personal belongings and regularly update it to ensure they have adequate coverage in case of a loss.

Emergency Preparedness

William Tashobya, an environmentalist from Mbarara City says,  in situations where you find you are already in a disaster-prone area, you may also require an action plan.

You might need a reputable rescue team to help in an evacuation, where to shelter, and evacuation routes that can be helpful and a team that can clean up the mess or fix issues after the event.

The evacuation plan should be shared among family members for easy and convenient evacuation during a disaster. Communities in disaster-prone areas should get emergency kits such as waterproof clothing and boats, tarpaulins, first aid, and medical supplies.

Watch for Warning Signs

Communities in disaster-prone areas should always watch out for warning signs before disaster strikes. In some areas, disasters show signs like an increase in water volumes, and cracks in mountains, but people remain unbothered.

In the past, disasters were there, but communities could sound whistles and drums to alert other members, and the risks would be minimal.

Communities should be trained on predicting signs and occurrences of disasters, put in place disaster management committees at local levels to monitor and give information on disasters regularly, but also have local emergency disaster preparedness and evacuation plans.

Tashobya highlights that Ugandans persist in constructing in inappropriate areas with no consequences, which is problematic for the environment.

According to Tashobya, if reasonably priced housing were made available in peripheral regions around urban areas, individuals seeking affordable accommodation could potentially relocate. Such areas would provide the added advantage of being both secure and affordable.


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