Climate change hits Uganda

Children use an improvised bridge after Lake Albert (Mwitanzige) flood swept Butyaba Village in Buliisa District in 2020. (Image: Kazi-njema News)

Uganda is already experiencing climate change as manifested in multiple flooding incidents in different parts of the country, according to the statement issued by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

According to information from the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, the highest rainfall was concentrated in some isolated parts of the Bunyoro region, around Lake Victoria and the Mt Elgon sub-region in April and May.

The weather forecast indicates that Uganda shall receive more enhanced rainfall even in June 2023.

“Multiple flooding incidents in the country are an indication of climate Change,” NEMA’s statement says.

Now, NEMA says this occurrence has seen the country experience flooding in areas of Ruwenzori, Kigezi, Mbale, Sembabule and Kampala and more recently the Katonga River flooding that has damaged the Katonga Bridge predicting that there is a likelihood of further increase in water levels of the River Katonga with the consequent more flooding.

This is because the current water levels of River Katonga are approximately 4.6m still below the highest recorded levels of 2022 (about 5.0m) and 2021 (about 5.3m).

NEMA says despite the incidents, the impacts of climate change can be alleviated by restoration and conservation of the fragile ecosystems including forests, wetlands, river banks, lake shores and hilly and mountainous areas.

The Authority appeals to the people of Uganda to immediately vacate wetlands, river banks and lake shores to avoid environment damage and the resultant danger to lives and property since the country is likely to experience more climate extremes.

Ugandans are also encouraged to avoid deforestation especially through unsustainable charcoal burning and wood production and increase afforestation of land to increase water retention and filtration and encouraged to embrace agroforestry, terracing and trenching so that easy wash away of soils and resultant siltation of rivers and lakes which increases flood impacts.

NEMA urges Ugandans to reduce emissions through use of cleaner energy, proper servicing of vehicles and avoiding littering besides being encouraged to restore damaged ecosystems to enhance their resilience and adaptation capacity.

“Ensuring that all our critical infrastructure is designed to withstand extremes of climate change (Climate proofing) e.g. suspending roads above wetlands, use of stronger and resistant materials and embracing climate smart technologies, each one of us can play a role in reversing the monster of climate change that is ravaging the world. We need to build more resilience and adaptation immediately as we continue to mitigate the impacts at local, national and global scale,” the statement adds.

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