Assumpta Kasande was planning to sell some of her avocados and bananas next week to pay school fees for her grandson.
However, the 80-year-old does not know how she will be able to pay the fees after a storm ravaged her banana plantation, destroying tens of bunches of bananas and avocado trees during a short-lived downpour on Tuesday evening (September 20).
Kasande’s is one of the 204 households in Nyamuswiga cell, Kashungura ward in Kagongo Division, Ibanda municipality, whose crops, mainly bananas, beans, cassava, fruit, and avocado trees, were destroyed by the storm.
The devastating storm lasted for less than 10 minutes, according to the residents. Nyamuswiga has over 220 households.
“This destruction compounds an already bad situation as Ibanda district is currently going through a period of food scarcity. Residents were hoping to get out of the period of food shortage from October, going forward,” Nyamuswiga cell chairperson Apollo Bigirwa said.
Bigirwa added that the early evening storm descended from the bare Nyamuswiga hills, leaving destruction in the area below.
“No one was injured, but one house was destroyed,” the village leader said while registering residents affected by the storm on the morning of September 21.
Destroys means of livelihood
The residents now fear the worst as they depend on bananas for food and income, calling on the government to intervene and give them food aid.
Bernard Taremwa, a father of three school children, said they will not be able to afford fees and school lunch for their children as “we have lost our means of survival”.
Clemensia Baziigatire, 83, is already preparing for hard times ahead as half of her banana plantation and cassava were destroyed by the storm.
“I don’t eat posho, what will I do now that my bananas and cassava have been destroyed by the storm?” she lamented, calling on the Government to help the affected elderly and other residents to save them from looming starvation. The widow stays with two of her grandchildren aged below 10 years.
Perez Bushoberwa, 70, said the area has not experienced such a heavy storm in many years. He explained that the storm destroyed even the young banana trees.
Adrian Kweyamba, the Kagongo division chairperson, said they were going to register all the affected households and forward the information to relevant authorities at the municipality and district levels to inform them about the situation. This way, they will know how to proceed in case of any aid from the government, he said.
Kweyamba encouraged the residents to plant windbreakers in the land boundaries to reduce the impact of such storms in the future.