According to Steven Sosi, a resident of Bugoma landing site, the heavy downpour since last year has increased the water in the streams on the island.
ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE
MASAKA - Panic has gripped Kalangala district as the Lake Victoria water levels swell, threatening to cut off the island from Masaka district.
According to Steven Sosi, a resident of Bugoma landing site, the heavy downpour since last year has increased the water in the streams on the island, which overfeed the lake, causing the overflow. "I have lived here for decades, but I have never seen water reaching people's homes," Sosi said.
Joseph Mulindwa, the public relations and marketing manager of Kalangala Infrastructure Services (KIS), worries about the future of Kalangala's transport system, saying the ferry services have been tremendously affected.
"We were forced to change our docking area in order to continue connecting the island district to the mainland, but the water levels rise daily, posing a threat," Mulindwa said.
The district leadership has urged the Government to immediately service the MV Kalangala to re-connect with Entebbe and also support KIS ferries.
Kalangala has one public entry at Bugoma docking pier, with KIS ferries connecting the island to Masaka. MV Kalangala, which used to connect Entebbe to Kalangala, was taken to Mwanza in Tanzania on a dry dock, pending mechanical service and is yet to resume operations.
William Lugoloobi, the district chairperson, called on the Government to intervene now, especially on the docking points, so that the district remains connected to the mainland, given the hard times.
"In this coronavirus season, we need our transport the most. We are left with only one route to the mainland and we cannot take chances," Lugoloobi said.
He stressed the need to make an alternative pier to keep ferry services operational. "We have engaged the ministry and all responsible parties to ensure that we are not cut off by the rising water levels," Lugoloobi added.
However, Lugoloobi has raised concern about the lives of the fishing community during this heavy rainy season, saying they risk contracting diseases.
Lugoloobi blamed the populace on the lake shores for defying environmental laws and constructing structures in gazetted areas that used to accommodate water during rainy seasons. He warned that if illegal occupants of such areas did not vacate early, they would be evacuated by the lake as it reclaims its territory.
Lugoloobi, however, asked the Government to gazette and protect wetlands in the country to save catchment areas that filter and store water during the wet seasons. He said farm activities, such as rice growing, have led to soil erosion, which has washed soils into the lake, hence silting. "With such farming activities, we have no future on the lake" he warned.
Climate change is a global challenge.
William Lugoloobi, the Kalangala district chairperson, stressed the need for leaders to sensitise the population about environmental conservation to avoid natural disasters as experienced this season. Beach owners also cry foul over their structures that have been washed away by the lake, leaving them devastated.
This, combined with the ongoing lockdown over the coronavirus, has left their businesses struggling