MBALE – Traders and market vendors operating in Kumi road market in Mbale City have appealed to government to rescue them after fire gutted their kiosks, destroying merchandise worth millions of shillings.
The incident that happened last Thursday left market vendors counting losses as their properties such as sewing machines, knitting machines, produce, clothes, charcoal, and grocery shops among others were burnt.
Irene Nambozo, a vendor in the market said the fire broke out at around 9:00pm and burnt stalls and lockups that were mainly built using wooden poles, timber, and iron sheets.
The market is home to a diverse array of traders, dealing in items like charcoal, and different types of foodstuffs.
Fatuma Naigaga, whose kiosk was also burnt into ashes, said she has lost property worth Shs 40 million in the inferno.
“I am still in a shock after losing a lot of money in the fire. My shop caught fire and I lost everything,” she said.
Joseph Okello, another affected trader was worried how he will pay back a bank loan after losing his business to the fire. “I goat a bank loan to stock my shop but now it has been burnt. I don’t know where to start from. I request the government to come to our rescue and give us some start up funds,” Okello said.
Juliet Namono, also market vendor said she had stocked merchandise worth Shs 15mln and was expecting to earn some good profit but now she is counting losses.
The Elgon regional police spokesperson, Rogers Taitika said the fire burnt all the stalls to ashes. “We are investigating the cause of the fire but we suspect it could be a charcoal stove,” he said.
Muhummad Balamya, the chairman of the market said some vendors are worried about how they are going to pay back loans after losing their businesses.
However, he was hopeful that government will come to aid the vendors.
Meanwhile, John Rex Aachilla, the Mbale resident city commissioner, urged the affected traders to calm down, saying government would give them financial support to revive their businesses.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country-wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news