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Over 2000 Nakiwogo residents affected by Lake Victoria floods

Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Close to 2,000 people in Nakiwogo in Entebbe Municipality in Wakiso district are affected by the rising water levels of Lake Victoria according to local authorities.

Paul Zikuliza, the Lugonjo-Nakiwogo village chairperson says the water has mainly affected traders and residents of Lugonjo-Nakiwogo and Banga- Nakiwogo villages.

Zikuliza says the water has either submerged or washed 250 houses accommodating 1000 people in Lugonjo-Nakiwogo alone.

He has since advised the affected residents to relocate but around 300 haven’t moved citing financial constraints. Zikuliza says government should help the residents despite the fact that they settled near Namiiro swamp which is part of the 200 meter protected zone for Lake Victoria.

Some residents of Lusa village in Lugonjo-Nakiwogo zone have accused Entebbe Municipal councilors of trying to exploit the situation to develop the area. James Mulondo, who spoke on behalf of the affected residents said they are now hostile to all visitors including journalists for fear that they could pass information to councilors on potential buyers on how many people are still around.

But Zikuliza insists that all affected people must leave for their own safety and well-being. The area LC 3 councilor, Tadeo Kibirige is worried of a possible water borne disease outbreak in the area due to open defecation since all toilets have also been submerged. “If they don’t leave, nature will now help us the leaders,” Kibirige said.

At Banga-Nakiwogo village, also close to 1,000 people have been affected mostly at the landing site, market and beaches of Ssese Habitat (Ssehab), Pearl and Banga. Peninah Musiime and Edith Namirembe, both businesswomen say they will relocate from the landing site as soon as possible. Namirembe says she has so far lost merchandise worth about Shillings 500,000.

She will however relocate when she has sold off all the foodstuffs. Deogratius Kabazi, a boat operator says he will not leave even if the lake floods up to Entebbe town about one kilometer from the landing site. He operates the Nakiwogo-Buwaya island route and charges Shillings 5,000 per passenger up from Shillings 2,000 before the lockdown.

Boat operators and business people at Kigungu landing site have started reinforcing the shores with stones to buy time to relocate. Experts warn that the lake water levels will keep rising due to the rainy season from March to May and increasing inflows from rivers such as River Kagera that pour water into Lake Victoria.

The ministry of water indicated that water levels of 1964 were over 13 meters compared to the levels in February at 12.9 meters and 12.8 meters last month. Samson Semakula, the National Environment Management Authority Inspector for Entebbe Municipality says the latest water level is at 13.12 meters.

“It was 13.2 meters in 1964 and the levels might go higher than that since the heavy rains have just began, ” Ssemakula says,” so people should not expect a miracle of declining water levels soon.”

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