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People in the Rwenzori, Elgon, Kigezi mountains urged to shift immediately as disaster looms 

People in the Rwenzori, Elgon, Kigezi mountains urged to shift immediately as disaster looms 
Photo: Unknown 2020-05-27T08:55:19Z

Cabinet as set up an Inter-Ministerial committee comprising of 14 ministries and 7 agencies, chaired by the Prime Minister to coordinate government response to the rising water levels and the resultant negative effects.


Also, a multi-sectoral National Technical Task Force chaired by the ministry of water and environment has also been set up to provide technical support to the Inter-ministerial committee.


The development follows a rise in water levels and its associated disasters like floods that have left many people displaced.


According to information from the Ministry of water and environment, the average water level of Lake Victoria as of 21st May 2020, was 13.45 meters which is 5 centimeters above the previous historical maximum level of 13.40 meter recorded in 1964.


This has caused an increase in water levels of Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert with resultant flooding around those lakes and further downstream. As of 21st May 2020, the L. Kyoga water level had exceeded its historical maximum 13.25 meters in 1964.


Hon Judith Nabakooba the minister for information and ICT presented a document from the ministry of water and environment this morning, indicating that the current disaster is largely a result of human activity such as deforestation, encroachment on wetlands, lakeshores and riverbanks for housing and agriculture.


She noted that although the rise in water levels have come with disasters, they are not totally without benefit. 


“Let me however inform you that the rising water levels and floods are not totally without benefit. The rising water levels provide great opportunity for hydropower generation. Flooding of rivers and lakes are normal phenomenon which is good for different purposes such as ground water recharge, fish farming, providing fertile soils for productive farming and others” she revealed.


Currently, a National Response Team from the ministry of works and transport has commenced operations involving surveillance and removal of the floating islands in order to protect the dams. 


Also, the ministry of water and environment is working to ensure timely information on the weather and changing water levels.


Members of the public, especially those living in the mountainous of Rwenzori, Elgon and Kigezi have been advised to move to safe places with immediate effect.


Also, law enforcement agencies have started evicting people who are within the protection zones of 200 meters from the lake shores and 100 meters from the river banks as well as 30-50 meters from wetlands or within forest reserves.

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