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Fishermen stranded as their homes in Buliisa are flooded

By Harriet Kugonza

Added 3rd May 2020 06:25 AM

The fishermen have no food to feed their families yet they are not allowed to use a ferry to cross to their home districts.

The fishermen have no food to feed their families yet they are not allowed to use a ferry to cross to their home districts.

 
Fishermen in Buliisa district are stranded after being invaded by abrupt floods.
 
According to one of the affected persons, Geoffrey Okwairot, the water levels have rapidly increased and when wind blows - which are currently very strong - it pushes a lot of water towards their area of residence.
 
Okwairot said they are currently stranded because the problem has occurred during the lockdown, when they have consumed all their savings and have no money to shift or go back to their home districts.
 
They have no food to feed their families yet they are not allowed to use a ferry to cross to their home districts.
 
He asked the Government to help them with food and permit them to return them to go home.
 
Okwairot who hails from Nebbi, has been in Buliisa for business and work purposes.
 
He said over 100 houses in Masaka village, Wanseko parish, Kigwera sub-county have been submerged, with majority of the occupants still living in the same houses.
 
Okwairot has a wife and four children.
 
Tamara Akumu, a widow who is also staying in her flooded house, asked the Government to help them with food to feed their families as well as relocate them. 
 
She added that she has stayed in the area for over 15 years but her home district is Pakwach.
 
Dorothy Mutiti who owns a newly-constructed permanent house which has been affected by floods explained that she never expected the water level to raise that high. She has no any other option but to remain in her house.
 
Husuna Muhindo, a resident of Wanseko town, however, explained that over 20 years back that place contained water because it is a swamp. After some years, when water dried up in the swamp, people started constructing houses in the area.
 
Muhindo added that water is just regaining its original territories.
 
Jasper Tibikanya, a secretary on LC1 committee of Wanseko, narrated that they informed district officials on how people were settling in the swamp illegally, but the construction of homesteads continued on different landing sites in the entire district.
 
The Wanseko parish councilor, Dismus Kaahwa, revealed that some casual labourers come with requests of constructing temporary stores in the area, only to end up turning the stores into homesteads.
 
They then bring in relatives and start up families in the same area.
 
Kaahwa added that the residents encroached on land owned by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
 
Kaahwa said the increase in water level of Lake Albert was likely as a result of the same effect on Lake Victoria. He added that more water is poured into Lake Albert by the River Nile on its way from Lake Victoria. 
 
He advised the affected persons to leave the area and return to their homes.
 
However, the district environment officer, Rodgers Tumusiime, disclosed that different meetings were held on different landing sites in the district, where sensitisation on environmental laws was done.
 
However, residents never complied and kept on constructing in the buffer zone of 200 meters from Lake Albert.
 
Tumusiime added that community members were also sensitised on the 100 meters buffer zone for big rivers such as the Nile and 30 meters for small rivers.
 
He said most landing sites were affected by floods along the shores such as Wanseko, Katala, Songalendu, Chigolyech, Kabolwa, Bugoigo and Butiaba.

 

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