Irreversible damage as Lake Albert flood worsens

Houses disappear into water as Lake Albert flood continues wreaking havoc to residents of Wanseko landing site in Kigwera Sub-county, Buliisa District as of November 19, 2020. (Photo: Kazi-njema News).

As floods continue sweeping through and submerging houses on the shores of Lake Albert in Bunyoro region, the affected residents blame the misery on the government.

Buliisa is the most affected district with thousands of state-of-the-art buildings submerged by the increasingly swelling water of Lake Albert as Hoima, Kikuube and Kagadi districts also fall an easy prey to the flood.

Such landing sites as Wanseko, Butyaba, Kamagongoro among others in Buliisa and Kiryamboga, Toonya and Kijangi in Hoima among others are greatly suffering the brunt of the overflow.

Three months ago, many residents had their houses inundated, forcing them to shift to other areas. No sooner had some relocated, than the flood also submerged their new homes in Buliisa.

Mr Gordon Abigaba, a resident of Butyaba village at Lake Albert blames the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness for failing to detect the disaster and raise a distress call to the Lakers so they could evacuate before their property was damaged to the current irreversible level.

He says the ministry did not play its expected role of informing the Lakers how grave the flood would be adding that an alert call could have been made at least one year before the occurrence.

“The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness is against its name. What did it prepare? Floods hit us without prior information from them. We expected the minister to alert us before the disaster hit. The ministry should have detected this incident like a year before to enable us relocate to other areas,” Mr Abigaba said.

Mr Samuel Mbabazi, 32, and resident of Kiryamboga fishing village in Hoima district says government should have documented the historical1962 flood for the consequent generations adding that seniors say the current overflow is a mere episode.

He says documentation could have been a warning to the Lakers to prepare themselves by either avoiding constructing houses in the previous water trail when the flood hit the region close to 60 years ago.

“If government documented the 1962 flood, it could have helped the subsequent generations not to construct in the areas where the flood passed. This damage could have been prevented and people could not have lost their money because government could have alerted them prior,” Mr Mbabazi says.

“This scenario must wake up the government to do its work, detect the problem and alert people about the impending problem so that they can prepare early enough and relocate to other areas,” he adds.

Mr Mbabazi faults the government for keeping a blind eye when people were constructing buildings in the previous flood areas of Lake Albert yet there are bodies responsible for keeping the environment intact.

He also faults the current National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for looking on as people encroached on the lake shore by constructing buildings in flood pathways.

“If NEMA came out at the start, people could not have suffered like this. It should have taken the mantle of stopping people from building in those areas to suit the current environment dynamics,” Mr Mbabazi suggests.

The Chairperson Bunyoro Parliamentary Caucus, Mr Stephen Biraahwa Mukitale, wants documentation of the current flooding of the lake that he says will help find a lasting solution to the natural disaster.

He wonders that the matter is being ignored; believing that this could be the reason for lack of a permanent answer to the incident.

Audio: Mukitale on floods (English)


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