Rising Waters Prompt Forced Evictions Near Lake Victoria – The Ankole Times

Rising Waters Prompt Forced Evictions Near Lake Victoria

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Cheptoris urged residents to move away from the affected areas, emphasizing the importance of respecting environmental regulations. He pointed out that there should be a buffer zone of more than 100 meters from the shores of the lake and 50 meters from riverbanks. These rules are intended to protect the people and the environment.
Ibrahim Jjunju
4 Min Read

The Ugandan government has issued a directive for residents living along Lake Victoria shores and in wetlands to evacuate due to rising water levels. If residents do not leave voluntarily, they will be forcibly removed. This decision aims to protect lives and property from the dangers posed by increasing water levels.

On May 14, 2024, Minister of Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris addressed journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Nakasero, Kampala. He explained that the situation is expected to worsen due to increased rainfall and water inflow from neighboring countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi. He stressed the urgency of preparing for these changes to ensure the safety of the residents.

Cheptoris urged residents to move away from the affected areas, emphasizing the importance of respecting environmental regulations. He pointed out that there should be a buffer zone of more than 100 meters from the shores of the lake and 50 meters from riverbanks. These rules are intended to protect the people and the environment.

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Approximately 10,000 people have already been forced to evacuate from various landing sites in Masaka, Jinja, and parts of Wakiso districts due to the rising water levels. To mitigate the threat, the government has allocated funds to protect infrastructure from flooding. Planned measures include constructing embankments or gabions around important structures, enhancing the drainage capacity of rivers, and relocating individuals living in wetlands.

A team has been dispatched to identify and assess the areas most at risk of flooding. Cheptoris attributed the environmental challenges to climate change.

In addition to addressing immediate concerns, Uganda is preparing to celebrate UN World Environment Day on June 5, 2024. This national event, which will take place in Sironko district, will focus on “Promoting Land Restoration for Climate Resilience.” The global theme for this year is “Enhancing Land Restoration, Combating Desertification, and Building Drought Resilience,” with the main event hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. President Yoweri Museveni will be the chief guest at the national celebration.

Cheptoris emphasized that World Environment Day provides an opportunity to reflect on and reaffirm their commitment to environmental protection and sustainable practices. The event aligns with the Government’s 10-Year Plan of Action for the Restoration of the Environment and Natural Resources in Uganda (2021-2031), as well as the National Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan.

The government’s efforts include increasing forest cover, which has risen from 9.5% in 2015 to 13.3% currently. They are also working to restore degraded wetlands, with coverage increasing from 8.9% in 2019 to 9.3% of the country’s land area. Initiatives such as integrating trees and shrubs into agricultural landscapes are designed to enhance soil fertility, reduce erosion, and promote biodiversity.

Cheptoris highlighted the success of soil conservation measures in areas like Kigezi, Elgon, and Rwenzori, where constructing steps on slopes has reduced erosion and runoff. He encouraged farmers to adopt rotational grazing systems to prevent overgrazing and promote vegetation regeneration, which helps improve soil fertility and carbon storage.

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Moreover, Uganda has successfully revived wildlife populations, including elephants, kobs, hippos, buffaloes, and zebras, that were once nearing extinction. Barirega Akankwasah, the Executive Director of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), reiterated that current environmental efforts focus on combating illegal encroachment on wetlands and ensuring compliance with environmental laws.



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Rumor has it that Jjunju was born with a pencil in his hand and a headline in his heart. From an early age, he displayed a peculiar fascination with headlines, often turning everyday events into front-page sensations. His first words? Not "mama" or "dada," but "breaking news."
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