Fear of electrocution as water covers power poles

Wednesday March 03 2021
reg02pix

Fishermen sail past electricity poles in water at Wakawaka Landing Site, Bulidha Sub-county in Bugiri District since last year. PHOTO | PHILIP WAFULA

By Philip Wafula

About 2,000 residents of Wakawaka Landing Site, Bulidha Sub-county in Bugiri District risk being electrocuted as two electricity poles remain in the lake for close to a year.

Mr Fazil Wairaka, the Wakawaka Village chairperson, at the weekend said the poles should be relocated.

“These poles have been submerged in the lake since March last year yet this village has about 2,000 residents, including children who swim and women who draw water and wash clothes from the same lake. What will happen if the poles fall into the lake?” he asked.

Mr Philip Davis Malaba, an electro-mechanical consultant, said this not only poses risk to the people, but also the surrounding aquatic life.

“Depending on their foundation, the poles risk falling. Time will come when they will either rot when their foundation is dissolved. And when the lines come down and get into the water, electrocution is imminent,” Mr Malaba said, suggesting two remedies.

“One, the concerned power agency should immediately disconnect electricity supply to Wakawaka Landing Site, and two, the residents in that area should be sensitised on the dangers they are exposed to if the poles end up in water,” he said.

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Mr Wairaka said the poles were on dry land until last year when the heavy rain in March 2020, caused flooding. At least 400 people were displaced.

Just beneath the power lines is what is left of a house, suggesting prior presence of shelter to displaced families.

“I engaged Umeme but they have been promising to come and I am still waiting for them to-date. I also engaged the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) who went to speak to the Umeme area manager but I don’t know what transpired from their meeting,” Mr Wairaka said.

Mr Godfrey Nyakahuma, the Bugiri RDC, said: “I wrote to the Umeme manager in Iganga and he didn’t take action; I am now going to write another serious letter and deposit it to him in person,” he said.

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