Uganda’s national weather agency has started issuing marine forecasts on Lake Victoria to save lives and property.
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA), which provides climate and weather predictions, indicated yesterday that the 24-hour weather forecast targets fishing boats, small crafts, and communities in and around the lake.
“This will be issued twice a day to provide early warning to save life and property,” a memo posted on the agency’s Twitter handle reads in part.
The areas that are so far covered include Entebbe and North West, Rakai and South West, Buvuma and North East Migingo and South East Rakai and South West.
UNMA says the forecasts will be communicated through different fishermen and community groups.
Alternatively, one can subscribe to the forecast by WhatsApp +256 785 570337 or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Three colours, including green, orange and red, have been used to communicate warnings depending on weather forecasts in the area.
Green indicates no severe weather is expected, while orange indicates potentially dangerous weather is expected.
On the other hand, red indicates danger and that potentially life-threatening weather conditions are expected and urges immediate action to ensure your safety.
Water body crime report
According to the police annual crime report of last year, a total of 279 people were rescued on the waters throughout the country.
The unit also handled a total of 120 incidents on water bodies across the country by the end of the year.
The majority of these were on Lake Victoria (67 incidents), Lake Albert (26 Incidents), Lake Kyoga (14 incidents) while Lake George, Lake Edward and Kazinga Channel had 12 incidents. Of the 69 cases of drowning, 28 were a result of bad weather.
The most recent tragic marine accident to affect passenger boats on Africa’s largest lake happened in November last year.
The boat, on which revellers were merrymaking, sank a short distance from the shore off Mutima Beach in Mukono District, close to the capital Kampala.
At least 30 people are said to have died in the tragedy.
Government has since promised to introduce boat ambulances in the districts surrounded by water bodies as one of the interventions to strengthen emergency care service delivery in the country.