Since mid-October, continuous heavy rainfall in Bulambuli and Butaleja districts near Mount Elgon, Eastern Uganda, have caused severe flooding and triggered some mudslides. At least 950 houses have been flooded, leaving more than 4,500 people in need of shelter. Critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges and schools has been damaged and/or destroyed. Some schools have been temporarily closed. Local authorities, communities and some humanitarian (I)NGOs are responding. Priority needs are shelter, food, and WASH assistance.
The Horn of Africa (HoA) (including northeast Uganda) is currently experiencing a prolonged drought, largely as a result of below average precipitation from the seasonal short rains (April-July) and long rains (October-December). Prevailing dry conditions across the region have led to the deterioration of farmland and pastures, loss of livestock, sharply increased food prices, and reduction of the availability of water in large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. At the regional level, the number of severely food insecure people has increased to approximately 12 million, in large part as a result of the drought. Pre-existing protection, health, WASH, and shelter needs have been also been exacerbated. The humanitarian needs of the region’s growing displaced population are of particular concern.
12,000 people have been affected by flooding and landslides in Bukalasi and Buwali sub-counties in Bududa district since 11 October. The Bududa landslide disaster followed three days of consistent and heavy rainfall in the areas around Mount Elgon National Park in Bukalasi. 858 people have been displaced. 51 deaths have been reported. Reported humanitarian needs are shelter, food, healthcare and NFIs.
As of 18 August, 91 cases of Ebola and 50 deaths (CFR 54.9%) have been reported in Ituri and Nord Kivu provinces of DRC. Conflict and insecurity in both areas are aggravating the crisis and increasing the risk the disease will spread further. Conflict is hampering humanitarian access of health workers to the local population, as well as driving displacement across the border to Uganda. Around 99,400 refugees from DRC have arrived in Uganda since January 2018, and the number of new refugees in Uganda from the two Ebola-affected provinces rose in July to 250 a day from 170 a day. The Ebola outbreak itself is also a cause for cross-border migration, as people try to leave the affected areas.
On 18 December 2017 violence escalated in Ituri and Nord Kivu provinces of north-east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), causing displacement and an increased refugee influx into Uganda. At least 7,185 refugees have crossed into west and southwest Uganda. Refugees are being relocated to Kyangwali settlement and the Malembo C site in Hoima district, and Kyaka II settlement in Kyegegwa district. Cross-sectoral response must be strengthened as humanitarian resources and capacities are strained due to the increase in arrivals.
2017 has seen a significant spike in South Sudanese refugees entering Uganda: as of 7 June the total number of south Sudanese refugees in Uganda is over 955,000. Most are in West Nile district in the northern region of Uganda, although some are now being settled in Lamwo district. These refugees are reliant on humanitarian assistance for survival, and response is stretched by limited funding and the high continuous arrival rate. Priority sectors for assistance are food and livelihoods, WASH, and health. Nutrition, protection, education, and shelter needs are also high.
Outbreaks of Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, have been reported in DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Kenya. Regionally, around 330,000 hectares of staple crops, especially maize, have been affected. The remaining southern African mainland countries remain at high risk. The severity of the impact on regional crop production is yet to be established. The damages caused by the infestation depend on the stage at which the pest attacked the plant. Crops that were infested during the early stages of crop development, in late December, had to be replanted, while those infested later in their growth seem to have recovered without intervention.
Update: The further spread of Fall Armyworm was observed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe in March. Damage from existing outbreaks was also sustained in Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. While further outbreaks are expected only in northern Tanzania in the coming months, all countries are advised to continue monitoring diligently and to apply appropriate preventative measures. Although the Fall Armyworm season is expected to end in June, long-term impacts are expected for affected countries, and neighbouring countries should also remain diligent.