Kenya and Uganda – Thousands Displaced by Lake Floods

Thousands of people have been displaced by flooding from lakes in Kenya and Uganda, eastern Africa.

Flooding from Lake Albert in Ndaiga Sub-county, Kagadi District, Uganda, August 2020. Photo: Red Cross Uganda

In Uganda, the government reported that rising water levels on Lake Albert and Lake Kyoga had displaced over 8,700 people in Buliisa, Nakasongola and Amolatar districts. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda visited affected areas on 23 August. He said:

“The devastation caused is immense. The Government of Uganda has provided initial relief to the people affected by floods and will do more. I salute our people for the resilience they have shown in the face of this natural disaster at a time when we are also battling COVID-19.”

Buliisa Heritage and Information Centre said flooding from Lake Albert has been causing havoc in Buliisa for over 3 months.

Uganda Red Cross said that rising water level around Lake Albert has also affected Ndaiga Subcounty in Kagadi district, where preliminary reports indicate 60% of the total population have been affected. Uganda Red Cross have sent teams to assess the situation.

Lake flooding has also affected parts of Kenya. Earlier this week FloodList reported that at least 1,000 families have been displaced by flooding from Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya.

According to a statement of 21 August by the Turkana Governor Josphat Nanokhe, “recent water in the lake has surged to unprecedented levels from 500m to 800m claiming the once dry beaches, hotels, homes, government offices and displacement of more than 1,000 households.”

Furthermore the Governor warned of the impending spill over of the Turkwel dam, which could displace over 300,000 people.

Meanwhile, Thomson Reuters reported that about 400 families from Budalangi, in Busia County, have been displaced since April this year, when the Nzoia River that flows from Kenya’s western highlands into Lake Victoria burst its banks. According to the Thomson Reuters report, the situation has been made worse by flooded rivers channelling huge volumes of water into Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, causing it to spill over onto its shores – a phenomenon called “backflow”.

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