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Fears As Displaced Persons Return to Lake Kyoga Shores

More than 1000 people previously displaced from the shorelines of Lake Kyoga have returned exposing their lives to flooding when the rains set in

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Betty Nanyange, the Secretary for Health in the Lwampanga town council, says that after waiting for a long time without help from the government, several residents have returned to their old ramshackle buildings because they couldn’t afford to rent or to stay with relatives.

More than 1000 people previously displaced from the shorelines of Lake Kyoga have returned exposing their lives to flooding when the rains set in. The water levels in Lake Kyoga increased two years ago, submerging the shorelines, swamps, and flood plains.

The floods displaced over 2000 households. Lake Kyoga is estimated to have exceeded the highest historical water level of 13.2 meters, which affected the shorelines, swamps, and flood plains. The affected residents relocated to higher lands, rented houses in nearby trading centers, and while others moved in with their relatives hoping that government will find them another area for resettlement.

The most affected people are from Lwabyata and Nabiswera sub-counties and the Lwampanga town council. Betty Nanyange, the Secretary for Health in the Lwampanga town council, says that after waiting for a long time without help from the government, several residents have returned to their old ramshackle buildings because they couldn’t afford to rent or to stay with relatives.

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Nanyange says that some houses have wide cracks after being submerged but residents have nothing to do because of poverty.

Robert Kalanzi, the LC 3 Chairperson of Lwabyata sub-county, says that the affected people settled on the landing sites following their eviction from public lands and they have nowhere to go unless the government allocates them another area.

Sam Kigula, the LC 5 Chairman of Nakasongola district, says that there are plans to relocate about 8000 people to Kyarubanga Forest Reserve but the Parliament has not yet degazetted it in fulfillment of President Yoweri Museveni’s pledge. Kigula has warned that the delay shouldn’t be used as a reason to return to shorelines because this is suicidal.

On Friday last week, President Yoweri Museveni condemned people who have insisted on working or living on Lakeshores, wetlands, and riverbanks, saying the government will issue tough measures against them this week. The cabinet is expected to discuss and approve the measures before they are released. Museveni’s tough stance stemmed from Mbale city floods, which left scores dead and hundreds displaced.

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