Cyclone Guba flooding still haunts locals

Nearly 10 years following the devastating Cyclone Guba disaster, locals are still psychologically scarred from that dreadful night of November 12 and its aftermath.

Virginia Pijai, a women’s leader from Numba village in Afore, Ijivitari District in Northern Province said locals dread another similar disaster during heavy downpours.

She said many lessons had been learnt from the disaster, which claimed the loves of 14 people from their village

Pijai said villagers have begun making gardens and building homes away or on higher ground from the rivers and waterways.

However, this does not erase the fear of another flooding disaster.

“Before we’d sleep in the gardens, make houses along the river and sleep there but this time we get scared when we see it raining for one week, we know there could be a disaster so all of us come back to the village and stay in the house.

“When there is a big flood we tell the children not to go down to the river.”

“So the fear of the disaster is still with us.”

 A total of 149 people perished during the disaster in Northern Province and around 2,000 people evacuated.

Roads, bridges and houses were washed away while the water supply and electrical infrastructure in Popondetta Town was damaged, and road access was blocked, and flights were cancelled.

Cedric Patjole