At least five people have died and 38 are missing after landslides caused by heavy rains buried homes in eastern Uganda, the Red Cross and police officials said on Thursday.
Three children were among the dead in villages on the hills that form the Elgon range in Bududa district, according to the Uganda Red Cross.
More than 200 people have been displaced.
The area’s police spokesman, Robert Tukei, told dpa that “many people have been killed in the landslides but we are yet to establish the exact numbers.”
Rivers in the area have also burst their banks, causing floods downstream, the Red Cross said.
Uganda and many other countries in East Africa have been hit by “unusually heavy rainfall and flooding,” according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).
More than 2.8 million people have now been affected and more than 280 have reportedly died, UN-OCHA said in an updated issued on Wednesday.
Almost half of the deaths were reported in Kenya.
“Across the region, homes, infrastructure and livelihoods have been destroyed and damaged in the hardest-hit areas, and the risk of communicable diseases – including cholera – is rising,” the UN agency warned.
The rainfall has been driven by a weather phenomenon known as the positive Indian Ocean Dipole. It is expected to diminish in the coming weeks, but “heavy rains are likely to persist into December and to intensify in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda,” it added.
(Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Yashim)
Ugandan military searching for over 200 escaped prisoners
The Uganda military is using aircraft and foot patrols to search for more than 200 inmates who escaped from a prison in north-east Ugand.
The Area Army spokesman, Peter Mugisha, said this in Kampala on Thursday.
He said that 219 inmates escaped from the prison near the remote town of Moroto, about 500 kilometres from the capital Kampala, on Wednesday, breaking into an armoury and seizing guns.
A soldier and three escapees died in an exchange of fire, and another seven had been rearrested, Mugisha said.
“We lost one of our soldiers when these guys fired back during the operation. We are pursuing them and we are using a helicopter to guide the foot troops,” Mugisha said.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Peter Dada
UN agency says 10 refugees missing in Uganda after deadly clash with locals
The UN refugee agency in Uganda on Tuesday said 10 refugees were still missing in the Sept. 11 deadly clash with the locals that left 10 refugees dead in the northwestern part of the country.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Uganda, Joel Boutroue, said this in a statement issued in Kampala.
Boutroue called upon authorities to search for the missing people immediately.
The agency said on Sept. 11, 10 South Sudanese refugees were killed, 19 others were injured, and one member of the host community was killed in Madi Okollo district.
The clash erupted after a dispute between locals and refugees near a shared water point at the Tika village in Rhino refugee settlement, where refugees from South Sudan refugees reside.
“The disproportionate violent reaction by the host community to a communal dispute signals a threat to the delicate balance of peaceful coexistence in the rural villages where refugees live alongside their Ugandan hosts,” Boutroue said.
“We urge for calm and are working with the authorities to ensure that additional security measures are adopted, and this deadly incident is investigated to help clarify the circumstances, including the role of local authorities,” Boutroue added.
UNHCR said it had immediately deployed teams on the ground to support refugees who were deeply traumatised by the attack and work with government counterparts and partners to respond to the needs of those affected.
Clashes between Ugandan nationals and refugees, mainly of South Sudanese origin are common in the East African nation which hosts about 1.4 million refugees.
In December 2019, four people were killed and 16 others injured following a clash between South Sudan refugees and the local community in Uganda’s northwestern district of Adjumani.
In July, three South Sudan refugees in Uganda were killed, six injured and hundreds displaced after tribal clashes erupted at the Palorinya refugee settlement in the northwestern district of Obongi.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Peter Ejiofor)
First virtual Google for Startups class graduates
Google on Friday said that its first virtual class of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa has graduated after a 12-week virtual journey mentoring and workshops.
Onajte Emerhor, Head, Google for Startups Accelerator Africa said in a statement that the first online of Google’s accelerator programme for African startups has seen 20 startups from seven countries with Nigeria recording eight startups.
Emerhor said that the 20 graduating Startups were Adi+Bolga, Ghana, Amitruck, Kenya, Beamm, South Africa, BuuPass, Kenya, Crediation, Kenya, Credpal, Nigeria, Crop2cash, Nigeria, Curacel, Nigeria, Festival coins, Nigeria.
Others were Franc, South Africa, Ilara Health, Kenya, Judy, Nigeria, Kaoun, Tunisia, Send, Nigeria, Stears, Nigeria, The Smarthub, Nigeria, Thumeza, Zimbabwe, Uzapoint, Kenya, Zayride, Ethiopia, Zuka Data Science, Kenya.
She said that the class had to go through a 12-week virtual journey to refine their offering and undergo mentoring and workshops in key areas such as technology, product development and business growth.
“To date we have celebrated wins with one Nigerian startup playing their part in the fight against COVID-19 and through raising funding – one notable win being Franc raising a seed round of 250,000 dollars after joining the program.
‘’Class 5 of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa took part in three virtual boot-camps over the course of the program, covering technology, product, people and growth.
‘’The Tech & Product boot-camp focused on assessing the startups’ value offerings and technology to ensure they were optimised to run efficiently with solid business models, not leaving any money on the table,’’ she said.
According to her, the Tech & People boot-camp took the founders – considered major pillars of startup success – through the Founders Lab, which evaluated their current managerial styles and advised them on how to become better leaders.
she said that the final week saw the startups prepared to meet investors as they graduate.
She said that Google for Startups Accelerator Africa gives early-stage startups access to the best of Google – its people, network, and advanced technologies.
Emerhor said that the accelerator has trained participating startups on technology Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud, Android, product, data, business, design, people, growth and fundraising, through interactive workshops and labs facilitated by Google experts and mentors.
According to her, the selected pool of startups for Google for Startups Accelerator Africa 2020 cut across an array of industries including logistics, transportation, education, agriculture, e-commerce, media, health and professional services.
Emerhor said since its launch in 2018, the Google for Startups Accelerator program has worked with 47 startups from 17 African countries: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
She said that Google have contributed to economic prosperity and empowerment by collectively raising millions of dollars in investment, and creating hundreds of jobs.
Google continues to support developer communities across Sub-Saharan Africa, through Google Developer Groups, Developer Student Clubs and Women Tech-makers, providing training and support for developers aligned with real-life job competency requirements.
Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams: study groups facilitated by developers, for developers. Today there are over 120 active developer communities across 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that Google for Startups Accelerator Africa is Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator programme which run in a dedicated space in Lagos.
Announced in 2017, Google was committed to training 60 African startups over 3 years, representing over 3 million dollars in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa.
Participants also received travel and PR support during the three months programme.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Uganda resumes rotation of peacekeeping troops to Somalia
Uganda has resumed rotation of its peacekeeping troops to Somalia after four months suspension over COVID-19, the military has said.
Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen. David Muhoozi said Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have built capacity to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
On Thursday, Muhoozi flagged off Uganda’s 30th Battle Group to Somalia at in Singo, in the central district of Nakaseke.
The group comprises more than 1,800 personnel, both veterans and regular forces.
The Ugandan military also suspended troop deployments to Equatorial Guinea.
Uganda has more than 6,000 troops serving under the AMISOM in Somalia and over 100 officers in Equatorial Guinea.
The East African country deploys troops to Somalia and Equatorial Guinea on a one-year rotational basis.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ifeyinwa Omowole