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Uganda Prepares for Worst El Niño in 20 Years


The waters of eastern Uganda are known to flood in active rainy seasons. The 2010 flooding, reportedly sparked by El Nino, began after the end of the rainy season.

The waters of eastern Uganda are known to flood in active rainy seasons. The 2010 flooding, reportedly sparked by El Nino, began after the end of the rainy season.

Uganda is experiencing some of its most unpredictable weather in 20 years.

Weather experts say the reason is El Niño: a climate event that affects weather conditions worldwide. El Niño takes place when water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean warm, and redirect wind movements.

Godfrey Mujuni works at Uganda's meteorological data center. He says rains will continue through what should be the country’s dry season. He says that if El Niño remains strong, he expects heavy rainfall during the months of January and February.

Heavy rains have already led to a rise in cholera cases. The disease has killed at least six people in western Uganda. In rural, mountainous areas, people have been asked to leave their homes because of the risk of landslides.

In the capital, Kampala, a number of wetland systems are responsible for drainage. These systems remove surplus water during periods of increased rainfall. However, both legal and illegal building projects have blocked the flow of water.

A World Bank report blames weak rules for the worsening of local wetlands.

A spokesman with the Kampala Capital City Authority says his agency working to combat this problem. He says one problem is people leaving wastes and other objects in drainage channels.

Uganda has increased disaster management teams around the country. But even preventative measures could leave some of the nation's poorest residents with nowhere to go.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA’s Lizabeth Paulat reported this story from Kampala. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Flooding and climate change are causing problems around the world. How is your town, city or country affected? Leave us a comment below this story, or post on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

channeln. a path, tube, or long narrow place where water flows

drainagen. the act or process of draining something : the act or process of removing water or liquid from a place or thing

managementn. the people who make decisions about a business, department, sports team, etc.

resident n. someone who lives in a particular place

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