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174,000 face eviction from Lake Victoria shores

Floods are ravaging residents settled near lake shores

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Water and Environment is to evict over 170,000 people from Lake Victoria shores and wetlands across Uganda.  The eviction exercise will pave the way for the demarcation of the boundaries.

Addressing the media on Monday, Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary said that the eviction exercise stems from a presidential directive of April 21st that all individuals who have settled or working in protected zones such as lakes, wetlands, forest reserves should be forcefully evicted across the country.

Some of the affected people are around Lake Victoria shores in Kampala, Jinja, Mukono and Entebbe Municipality especially those in Namiro swamp in Lugonjo Nakiwogo.

The commissioner for wetland protection, Collins Olanya, says the ministry has been conducting public awareness campaigns for the last 25 years and as such, many people are aware of the law and regulations.

He adds that the residents have been notified about illegally settling or carrying out unauthorized activities within the 200 metres from lake shores.

Okidi says that the ministry has also directed National Water and Sewerage Corporation and Umeme to disconnect the affected areas to ensure that they vacate the areas.

Lake Victoria water levels have been rising since October 2019 due to heavy rains and increased direct inflows from 23 rivers into the lake.

The direct river inflows are due to the gross encroachment on the lake shores, forests and catchment areas such as Lwera wetland where sand mining has resulted in several open pits, silting of the lake which increased the pace of river runoff into the lake.

Okidi adds that an Inter-ministerial committee has been set up to manage the issues relating to the rising water levels of the lake.

The committee headed by the Prime Minister involves ministries of works, lands, water, and energy among others.

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