November 23, 2019 – Mbale, Uganda
Last night a deadly flood impacted parts of Mbale town along the river where LivingStone International University (LIU) is located. The President of LIU reports that, although a number of people near the University have been reported killed or missing, all University students on campus are safe. There is, however, extensive damage to the lower campus. The flood was severe enough to wash a container truck off one of the nearby main highways.
At 11:30 p.m. Friday night, November 22nd, after heavy rains fell from Mount Wanale to Mbale town, the river behind LIU backed up when the nearby bridge became blocked by tons of debris. The lower part of the campus which contains the main classroom block with the student center area, kitchen, the women’s dormitories, the canteen and offices along with the soccer field and parking area were quickly engulfed by fast running flood waters as high as six feet. Final exams were scheduled to start this following Monday so many of the women were studying in their dorm rooms or in the student center. They soon found themselves rushing for safety by climbing onto the walls of the dormitory compound and around the classroom block as the river quickly backed up. By midnight the women were stranded on the walls.
After being notified of the situation, the men’s dormitory supervisor organized the LIU men to rescue the women. They commandeered the wall panel of the temporary building which was in the process of being dismantled for moving to the new campus. The panel had been knocked off the building by the flood waters, so they used it as a rescue raft, floating it in the water as they swam to the walled areas and one at a time moved the women to safety.
The flood waters have since receded and LIU administrators are assessing the damage. It appears the students in the women’s dorm have lost almost everything, including their books, notes, personal possessions, computers and tablets. They have managed to retrieve some clothing and shoes, all of course soaking wet and mud covered. The University has arranged temporary housing for them at the adjacent Mission compound as well as temporary kitchen facilities for food preparation. Currently, we are evaluating the immediate needs of the students from the dorm in order to help them with personal necessities.
Water levels reached as high as six feet in the dormitories, offices, and classrooms thus destroying all the equipment, technology and a lot of the furniture. The Dean of Student’s Office, Chaplain’s Office and Marketing Office lost almost everything. We are still assessing the damage to the kitchen and the classrooms. We have our project manager checking on any structural damage and the extent of damage to the temporary building. On a positive note, the bus was away; otherwise, we would have lost it to the flood.
We give thanks that no one had any significant injuries or loss of life and that our students along with LIU’s onsite staff acted quickly and maturely in response to the crisis.
Tens of thousands of dollars of expense will be incurred to clean up and repair the flood damages. Please consider a donation to help us with these unexpected expenses. Thank you.