Natural Hazard Risk
Uganda is regularly affected by multiple natural hazards, including droughts, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and volcanoes. Flooding, particularly in low-lying areas, presents the largest risk. Each year, floods impact nearly 50,000 people and over $62 million in gross domestic product.
Droughts affected close to 2.4 million people between 2004 and 2013, and drought conditions in 2010 and 2011 caused an estimated loss and damage value of $1.2 billion, equivalent to 7.5 percent of Uganda’s 2010 gross domestic product. Environmental degradation, underdeveloped irrigation systems, and near-absence of disaster preparedness at the community level are contributing factors to increasing drought risk in Uganda.
Climate change is likely to increase average temperatures in Uganda up to 1.5 degrees Centigrade by 2030 and 4.3 degrees Centigrade by 2080. Rainfall variability and rising temperatures are expected to lead to higher incidences of droughts and water scarcity.
The government has taken steps to advance disaster risk management (DRM) and climate resilience. Uganda’s economic development framework has identified disaster management as one of the enabling sectors to achieve sustainable development. The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister facilitates collaboration among ministries, local governments, and communities for disaster preparedness and management.
In 2008, the Climate Change Department within the Ministry of Water and Environment was established to strengthen Uganda’s implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. It coordinates national climate change actions in different sectors and monitors the implementation of mitigation and adaptation activities. In addition, in 2015, Uganda implemented the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and established a national resilience committee.
To further advance its DRM agenda, Uganda’s national priorities include:
- Increasing the understanding of natural hazard and climate change risk;
- Enhancing the country’s capacity to minimize the effects of disasters; and,
- Integrating disaster preparedness and management into the development processes.
Since 2008, GFDRR has supported the advancement of disaster risk management in Uganda. Key areas have included capacity building for disaster preparedness and management, and integration of disaster prevention into post-disaster recovery.
GFDRR supported a drought impact and needs assessment following severe droughts in 2010 and 2011. The assessment analyzed rainfall variability since 1960 and the effects of water deficits on different sectors, including agriculture, education, and health. The collected data helped identify recovery and reconstruction needs and possible DRM measures.
In 2012, GFDRR supported activities for risk reduction and sustainable development in Horn of Africa countries, including Uganda. The activities promoted an enhanced ability to use regional modeling techniques to better prepare actors to manage risks associated with climate change.
Currently, GFDRR is supporting a risk identification and assessment project in Uganda. Its main activities include building a comprehensive understanding of national risk, developing community resilience by undertaking district-level risk assessments, and integrating DRM and climate change adaptation into economic development plans.
GFDRR anticipates continuing to support the Government of Uganda in:
- Strengthening institutional capacity to assess and to manage disasters and climate risks;
- Building community-based preparedness and resilience; and,
- Developing disaster risk financing strategies and scalable social safety nets;