Families Displaced by Rising Lake Victoria Waters: Urgent Call for Assistance

Families Displaced by Rising Lake Victoria Waters: Urgent Call for Assistance
A submerged house in Bukasa, Makindye Division.

Over the past one month, rising water levels of Lake Victoria have displaced several families and forced many residents to abandon their homes.

The rapid increase in water levels has left many houses submerged, with water seeping up from underground and overflowing trenches, creating a perilous situation for the affected families.

A man drawing water that had entered his house. He says he draws the water atleast 3X a day Photo/Frank Semata

The sight of young boys and girls attempting to collect water from their flooded homes is a stark reminder of the dire circumstances these families are facing.

The rising water levels have made the struggle for survival increasingly difficult, with the contaminated water posing a significant health risk, particularly to the elderly and young children.

A temporary bridge set up to facilitate movement 

Stagnant water has become a breeding ground for waterborne diseases such as cholera, malaria, and typhoid, posing an immediate threat to the health and wellbeing of the affected families.
The government has yet to take action to assist the displaced families, leaving many feeling abandoned and hopeless. 

Trenches can no longer transport drainage water

Government issued a warning to communities living on lake shores and riverbanks, cautioning them about the increased water volume in these water bodies, which has reached worrying levels. 

Minister of Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris reported that Lake Victoria, the country’s largest lake shared with Kenya and Tanzania, has risen to its highest level.

A toilet filled up with water, this has led to more disease outbreaks like cholera.

The water level has increased to 13.66 meters, up from 13.5 meters in 2020, due to the El Nino rains affecting the region.

“Lake Victoria receives water from 23 rivers across the region, which are currently experiencing El Nino rains,” Cheptoris explained. 

Children play freely in dirty water. 

“These rivers originate from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. So even when there is no rain here and it has rained elsewhere in those countries, Lake Victoria will still receive water.”

Part of Lake Victoria whose banks are filled with water. Photo/courtesy 

The minister noted that due to the high water level in the lake, the government was forced to release more water into the River Nile, which feeds into other lake basins, potentially causing floods there. 

“We are appealing to all those people who are within the shores of lakes or the banks of the rivers to be very careful and try to avoid those areas,” he urged.

The writer (Frank Semata) takes a selfie in one of the houses deserted after water entered in. The water level is almost Knee-high

Barirega Akankwasah, executive director of the National Environment Management Authority, emphasized the urgency of the situation.

“We call upon Ugandans not to wait for what happened to our brothers and sisters in Kenya and Brazil. We request all those living in wetlands to vacate immediately so that we can save lives and property.”

The reporter talked to some persons affected by these waters and they expressed need for better accommodation, Miria Nakawuuki a single mother of three from Bukasa shared her distress,

“We have nowhere to go. The water keeps rising, and we have no money to move to a safer place. My children are getting sick, and I don’t know what to do. Accessing my own house is troubling, and at night we're drawing water from the house. It's hard for me.”

Houses submerged in water 

John Kamugabo, a community leader and Chairman LC1 of Bukasa Zone, expressed frustration over the lack of government response,

“We need help now. Our people are suffering, and we can’t wait any longer. The government must step in and provide the necessary support.”

Dirty water that may pose risks of diseases and infections 

How You Can Help

The need for aid is urgent to support these families. They require resources to secure temporary accommodation, food, clean water, and medical supplies. Here are some ways you can help.

Donate: Financial contributions can provide immediate relief. Donations can be used to purchase essential items and support relocation efforts.

Reach out to the writer (Frank Semata) who has identified families that urgently need support; EMAIL: sematafrank1@gmail.com  Call/WhatsApp: +256783088356

A number of trucks full of soil have been sighted in the area. People pour this soil in their houses to curb water from entering.

A man struggles to go past a trench filled with water.