President calls on Kasese residents to wake up and manage these environment gifts carefully May 15, 2014

Thursday 15th May 2014

President Yoweri Museveni has consoled the people of Kilembe, in Kasese district who lost lives and property following simultaneous floods that burst banks along river, Nyamwamba in Bukonzo and in Kyarumba, Kyondo, Kisinga, urging communities to jealously guard against environmental degradation.

“Am very sorry about the damage caused to you; the loss of lives and property. Those who lost relatives should be identified and helped. But this should act as a warning that we should wake up and manage these environmental gifts that God gave us well,” he said. 

The President was speaking at a rally at Bulembia Division offices in Kilembe after touring areas following devastating floods that left 665 Households displaced, four dead and scores injured.

The President who toured areas around Bulembia Primary School, Kilembe Mines Offices, the newly constructed Kyanjuki-Katiritare Road, Kilembe Hospital and Kanyaruboga area said two main problems including lack of maintenance of the banks by the relevant ministry and environmental degradation by the people caused the devastation.

He said during the construction of Kilembe mines, the river was diverted by the construction of an embankment which was not maintained by the ministry.
“Because of the confusion in the past governments, the company that was managing Kilembe Mines went away without handing over properly to the ministry concerned. So they did not maintain the banks,” he said.

Using the local sayings, the President said residents had also tampered with nature when they shaved it of all its `hair’ (grass) leaving it bare and making it possible for the water to move fast.

“Trees and grass help catch water so that it goes to the ground. But since all the grass has been destroyed the water carries away all the soil. Our soil is going to Lake George and Egypt through soil erosion. Secondly water does not sink in the soil because it moves very fast causing damage to property in the valley,” he said pledging to work with the relevant stakeholders to study economically viable tree species that they can plant to earn an income but also to protect the environment.

He advised communities to plant trees at the edges of their gardens and also dig trenches in the middle of their gardens to break the speed of water.
“I came to see for myself what has happened here and it is as if you have been attacked by a bomb but this was done by our own river because we have not managed it well. We must find a solution to this. Help me to manage these hills. These are very good for us because they manufacture rain,” he said.

The President directed the Ministry of Works and that of the Environment to present a proposal on how to address this urgent issue, adding however, that government will as a quick measure de-silt river Nyamwamba and redirect the water using excavators.

Other infrastructure including roads and bridges would also be worked on.

 

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