Source AP ©

Massive flood causes state of emergency in Uganda

A state of emergency was declared in Uganda Thursday as a result of severe flood. Uganda is among the nations hardest-hit by floods that have swept across 17 countries in Africa in recent weeks. At least 200 people have been killed across the continent, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

"We expected the rains which have been falling since early August to ease off but they are getting worse and we are seeing more and more people affected," Relief and Disaster Preparedness Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere said Thursday.

A state of emergency allows the government to divert money allocated for other programs to the floods. The government also said it hopes the declaration will spur international help.

"I've lost everything," Martha Amongin, 56, told The Associated Press on Wednesday in Magoro, a town in eastern Uganda that is surrounded by floodwater and has become inaccessible by road. "Life is going to be bad."

Driving rain pounded Amongin's hut for days until the structure gave way, disintegrating into a pile of mud and burying everything inside.

The United Nations chartered a helicopter to airlift emergency supplies to areas where floods rendered roads impassible.

"We are targeting those in direst need. Many people have had to abandon their homes and are now sheltering in primary schools," said Geoffrey Edong, the World Food Program's regional chief. "Until we provide them with support and alternative accommodation they cannot move and the schools cannot operate."