Hundreds displaced as Lake Victoria water levels rise again

Locals stranded after water submerged their houses at Namirembe Landing Site in Masaka District. PHOTO/GERTRUDE MUTYABA

What you need to know:

  • Many household items and merchandise in shops have been destroyed in the past five days.

Water levels have started to rise again on Lake Victoria shores in Masaka District, displacing hundreds of residents in the area.
So far, the most affected are residents of Namirembe Landing Site in Kyanamukaaka Sub-county where many houses are submerged in water.
Many household items and merchandise in shops have been destroyed at the landing sites in the past five days and many residents have relocated to the neighbouring village of Buyaga.

According to Mr George Kiwanuka, the landing site chairperson, those who have remained behind are at high risk of contracting water- borne diseases such as cholera since all the pit-latrines got flooded and pour human waste directly into homes.
The floods have already cut off the only road connecting to Namirembe, paralysing transport.
As a mitigation measure, some residents have started collecting soils and piling it around their houses to prevent them from being submerged.

“We are now using boats to move from one place to another, the school term started on Monday, but our children cannot attend school,” Mr Kiwanuka said in an interview on Wednesday.
He said residents currently pay between Shs1,000 and Shs2,000 for  a single trip  to connect to neighbouring villages using  a  boat. 
Ms Proscovia Namutaawe, who operates a hair salon at the landing site, said most of her items such as weaves were destroyed by water, and asked government to swiftly come to their rescue.
“We wonder whether we have leaders here; since this month started, we have been living in this condition but we have not seen anyone coming to give us hope, when they were hunting  for votes, they promised us heaven on earth,”  Ms Namutaawe said. 

She said some residents have already started getting malaria and appealed to government to give them with mosquito nets. Masaka District chairperson Andrew Lukyamuzi Batemyetto attributed the rising water levels to intense rainfall in the past three weeks.
 “We sympathise with the flood victims, but as a district, we don’t have money to relocate them. We appeal to government to intervene before the situation gets out hand,” he said.

Mr Richard Ssebamala, the area Member of Parliament (Bukoto Central), said he has already contacted relevant government ministries to intervene .
“I also wrote to the ministry of Works myself about the floods and they responded positively, a team of engineers came and inspected the flooded road and they are waiting for culverts to fix it,” Mr Ssebamala said in a telephone interview .
Namirembe Landing Site is among the many fishing villages that were affected when elevated water levels in Lake Victoria wreaked havoc in 2020, displacing thousands of people who were occupying the lake shores and some islands. The victims were   temporarily housed  in makeshift houses on the mainland  as they waited for government to resettle them. However, before government implemented its resettlement plan as earlier promised, hundreds of victims in various districts such as Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja, Buikwe, Kalangala and Buvuma returned to their homes, claiming the resettlement programme had delayed.