In the face of the many floods in the Kasese district, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, local communities are mobilizing to try by all means to protect themselves from the bad weather that has caused the displacement of several hundred people. Some local initiatives have been developed in recent years to prevent floods from attacking the villages again.
From our special correspondent in Kasese,
As the rainy season approaches, Wilson and his neighbors try to protect themselves from the floods as best they can: on the way to prevent water from attacking their homes, residents build a pond made of dried soil. “We try to collect bags filled with soil to block the water. If there is not much water, it works. We also try to dig trenches to divert the water. But most of the time the floods are too bad and that is not enough, says Wilson.
A little further on, with their feet in the water and armed with shovels, dozens of people are digging the river. On the banks, the many piles of silt and sand that have been removed from the water since the beginning of the day. Christopher has been working here for a few years now. “We work in the river to remove enough silt so that the water can flow freely to the lake. For one of the problems with this river is that the silt is too much for the water level. But we would need machines to remove all this silt and the river would finally be able to flow freely in its bed, says Christopher.
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Programs organized … but without success Local authorities say a large-scale project to remove the sand blocking the waterway will soon be set up. A necessity according to Patrick Mweisge, responsible for monitoring the Nyamwamba River. “When you look at the surface of the river, you can see that the silt prevents the water from flowing. While the river was very deep in the 1970s and 1980s, I even came to swim, but now the mud has filled the bed and the water is very low, says Patrick Mweisge.
Over the years, several programs have been organized to prevent floods and secure banks, but so far without success. Some bamboo plants, scattered along the water, are the latest evidence of an old riverbank forestry campaign. “These bamboos are two years old now. They were planted over large parts of the riverbank by an entrepreneur, but the floods went through and destroyed everything before they could help. These are the only bamboos left, he says.
According to officials from the Kasese district, new river planting projects are being discussed along the riverbank to consolidate the banks, weakened by deforestation and certain agricultural practices.
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