Rising Lake Victoria waters submerge Masese Landing Site

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DISASTER | The increasing water levels in Lake Victoria have displaced a number people at Masese Landing Site in Jinja City.

Many houses and kiosks which served as shops have been submerged forcing owners to flee. There is fear of tough times ahead among members of the community.

“We last registered this kind of rise in water levels at Masese in 1997 but it didn’t reach this level,” said Bumaali Kidoma, one of the affected community members.

The water level in Lake Victoria rose to a new record level of 13.42 meter in May 2020, surpassing the 13.41 meter mark recorded in 1964, according to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.

In 2021, the water level rise hit 13.32 metres.

During the peak height, water levels were 2.18 meters higher than this baseline, according to the Global Reservoir and Lake Monitor, a project sponsored by NASA and the US Foreign Agricultural Service.

Intense rains during the wet season for four of the last five years have caused trouble for riparian communities near Africa’s largest lake.

The rising waters around Lake Victoria in 2020 and 2021 led government agencies to issue alerts to lakeshore communities during the region’s long rainy season (March to June).

The water levels in Lake Victoria are partly controlled by the dams in Jinja.

Floodwaters swamped farmland, inundated homes, and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Already this time, too,  Masese market has been displaced since all the space has flooded.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that islanders at different islands like Lwabitooke, Kisima I and II in Jinja Southern Division are in a similar predicament, which forced many to flee to the main land.

Locals are calling upon government to come to their rescue in terms of food since many have been displaced.

People have no food since all their gardens flooded and their houses submerged and majority are taking refuge at Masese Landing Ste, however those who can’t afford rent in town are left homeless.

Francis Magala, a local leader in Masese, called upon the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness to swing into action and help the suffering community members.

Dr Winnie Nkalubo, the director National Fisheries Resources Research institute (NaFIRRI), attributed the increasing water levels to the torrential rains in the Lake Victoria basin.

“We have so many rivers and tributaries in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which pour in Lake Victoria coupled with the rainy season that’s the reason the lake shores have flooded, there is too much water into the lake,” Dr Nkalubo said

She, however, anticipates that there will be an increase in fish stocks in Lake Victoria in the near future especially Tilapia.

“The lake shores have widened and tilapia lays eggs on Lakeshores, hence if it is not disturbed by illegal fishing we are most likely to have an increase in the stocks of tilapia this years,” she said

Experts say the current water levels have surpassed the 1964 historical level of 13.42metres at 14meters onto the mainland.

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