By Orla Guerin
BBC News, Teso
They brave the water in small groups, moving forward slowly and carefully, sometimes holding hands.
This is what it takes to get in or out of Katakwi district in eastern Uganda, where more than 140,000 have been cut off by the floods.
The main highway into the area - usually packed with cars and trucks - is now hidden beneath a fast-moving torrent.
Crossing the road means battling the waves.
In the time we spent at the waters edge, three men were almost carried away by the current.
'By God's mercy'
Others followed, undeterred, taking their lives in their hands - struggling to carry boxes of essential supplies, bicycles, laptops, and in some cases, their children.
One father waded through with his young daughter perched precariously on his shoulders. The water had risen to his chest before he reached the other side.
Hirali Isabirye, a businessman headed for Kampala, carried his black attachee case shoulder-high.
"I crossed by God's mercy," he said.
"But there is no way to take my goods. I doubt whether I will come back safely."
Hirali explained the pact made by those about to enter the water.
Uganda's eastern region of Teso is the worst affected
"We just combine efforts, moving three or four people, holding ourselves together," he said.
"We tell everybody that if I fall down please don't let me go and if you go down I will not let you go. We just swear by each other that I will not let your life go. The water is so strong it can easily carry you away."
He begged the government to help, suggesting they bring speedboats.
"This situation is quite alarming," he said, "so we are requesting the government please to so something - to rescue the situation, at least to rescue the lives of the people. We just feel we have been ignored."
Uganda's Minister for Disaster Relief, Francis Musa Ecweru, says that initially the government here did not anticipate the magnitude of the damage, but neither did the international community.
He is pleading for foreign help - before it is too late.
Standing in the flood waters, he urged the international community to intervene now rather than wait for a humanitarian catastrophe.
"We should not wait for dead bodies to start appearing," he said.
"We must act now to avert the problem. If we don't then we are going to see a problem. People will start dying and they might die in such numbers that will embarrass the whole international community."
"About 400,000 people are in very dire need of international help," he said.
"They are trapped and can only be reached by air. They need to be reached with food, medicine and clothing."
Not a penny
The United Nations World Food Programme has made an urgent appeal for funds for Uganda, but says so far, it has not seen a penny.
WFP country director Tesama Negash calls the lack of response puzzling and very worrying.
He says that some donors are even claiming the scale of the problem is being exaggerated, but he responds with a a stark warning.
"If we don't get cash now," he says," we will be running out of time. At the moment we don't have any food for the flood-affected people."
In the village of Ajeleik, crowds gathered when a WFP helicopter landed with a few sacks of aid - just enough for a week.
Giver and taker
Like many of Uganda's flood victims, these people have been made homeless three times - by cattle thieves, by the rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army, and now by nature.
But life has never been this bad before, according to Pampas, a 76-year-old man, who remembers all the tough times of the past, including the devastating floods back in the 1960s.
"This one has destroyed the houses and crops so we don't know what to do," he says.
Minutes later, the heavens opened again, battering the sodden landscape.
It is feared the floods could bring dysentery and cholera.
Water - the giver of life - is now threatening to take it away.