Lake Albert submerges Kibiro fishing village, environmental destruction blamed

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Lake Albert water erosion bringing the shoreline closer to doorsteps at Kyamwaana landing site in Kibiro Parish, Kigorobya Sub-county in Hoima District. Credit: David Livingstone Ayebale

Lake Albert has burst its shore into houses at Kibiro fishing village in Kigorobya Sub-county, Hoima District.

The flood that has brought the lake shoreline into houses has forced the occupants to flee and relocate to safer zones.

The village chairman, Mr Godfrey Abigaba Bitagase, says several landing sites in Kibiro fishing village including Kyamwaana, Songagagi and Bikunyu among others have been flooded by the rising water level of the lake.

He says the water is overflowing at a higher rate.

“After the shoreline extended into houses, the affected fishermen and their families removed their belongings and repositioned themselves to other areas farther from the lake.”

The water has also eroded the road to Nana fishing village at Bikunyu landing site also in Kibiro parish blocking vehicles from accessing the fishing area.

Hoima is not the only district where Lake Albert has overflowed.

The neighbouring Buliisa district is also experiencing the same tragedy with roads at Butiaba fishing village being submerged, rendering it hard for the residents to access Butiaba health centre.

Four people lost their lives to crocodiles last month after the shoreline extended to houses.

President Yoweri Museveni advising people to stay away from degrading the environment

Commenting about the disaster, Water and Environment Minister, attributes the current floods hitting the country to the inhuman actions meted out to the environment.

Mr Sam Cheptoris points out that water levels in water bodies across the country have been on the rise beyond any earlier known levels in the country’s history and continue to do so with many areas flooding and being submerged.

These include settlements, commercial developments and other infrastructure due to environmental degradation.

Lake Albert water erodes road to Nana fishing village at Bikunyu landing site in Kibiro Parish, Kigorobya Sub-county in Hoima District. Credit: David Livingstone Ayebale

The minister adds that Lake Albert and other water bodies’ shoreline erosion is taking place; bringing shorelines closer to doorsteps due to encroachment on ecosystems among others.

He says the current climate change seen in flooding and extreme sunshine is a challenge to remember that nature hosts man, thus, an obligation to respect and handle it with utmost care and responsibility.

Mr Cheptoris says livelihoods and lives have been lost because of how bad man relates with the environment.

“Nature is speaking: Listen!” How should we respond? It, therefore, implores us to become diligent stewards to avoid turning ourselves into agents of self-destruction and advocates of unsustainable development,” he says.

He advises Ugandans to show case their commitment to the environment and demonstrate their achievements and efforts towards achieving environmental sanity.

“The fact that human beings have championed destruction, our actions, therefore, will still count to reverse the situation. All of us need to respond by taking concrete steps including: stopping encroachment on fragile ecosystems including; …lake shores….,” he adds.

Presiding over the 2020 World Environment Day under the Global theme: “Time for Nature” and National Theme: “Nature is speaking listen,” Mr Cheptoris advises that “nature should be handled with utmost care and responsibility for us to benefit from it and the services it provides.”

He says: ‘It is “Time for Nature” and “Nature is speaking: Listen!”’

Uganda is experiencing severe impacts of climate change including the melting of glaciers in Rwenzori Mountains, the current flooding in Hoima and Buliisa districts as a result of the overflowing of the water of Lake Albert, the recent flooding in Kasese and other areas as a result of the bursting of the banks of River Nyamwamba, Nyamugasani, Lubiria among others.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 requires the State to protect natural resources including…, water, wetlands…..; and also requires the State to promote sustainable development and public awareness on the need to manage natural resources in balanced manner for the benefit of the present and future generations.

It also requires the state to promote the rational use of natural resources so as to safeguard and protect the biodiversity of Uganda and to hold in trust for the people and protect natural lakes, rivers, wetlands…..for ecological……purposes for the common good of all citizens.

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