By Rwenzori Daily
Climate Change is one of the major threats to Uganda’s sustainable development and efforts to end poverty. The country has for decades experienced increased adverse weather patterns such as prolonged drought in the north, landslides and devastating floods in the east and west.
In Kasese District of Rwenzori sub-region in the western part of Uganda, the climate has increasingly changed leading to a number of problems among the affected community members.
On September 7, 2022-Just one month ago, residents of Kasika Village in Rukoki Sub County woke up to landslides that wreaked havoc on crops and human lives. The landslides killed 16 people and according to the assessment report by the Uganda Red Cross, the death statistics show 2 male adults, 4 female adults, 3 male children, and 7 female children. The tragedy, also left other 6 people with severe injuries and subsequently displaced 19 households.
Kasese experiences droughts in the months of January and July, which dries-up crops leading to famine and the months of March, April, May, August and September are always characterized with heavy rains.
There are different causes of the climate change; deforestation which leaves the group to agents of erosion, unimproved methods of agriculture, illiteracy, poverty among the people, limited information concerning the climate changes, need for food and income. Clearing forest for agriculture and settlement.
Given the above background, Jackline Masika, a Research Associates attached to Center for Citizens Conserving the Environment and Management-CECIC, cites the need for the district leaders and other stakeholders to lay down strategies and look for solutions/measures to reduce on the different climatic changes.
THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE DONE
According to Masika, the positive coping strategies used to deal with landslides and floods included adoption of good farming methods, support from government and other partners, livelihood diversification and using indigenous knowledge in weather forecasting and preparedness.
She said that government should consider encouraging people living in flood-prone areas to immediately vacate and resettle in safer places within their respective districts.
She subsequently proposed that, these people should also be encouraged to plant more trees on the bare hills of Kasese stressing that planting of these trees and forests could reduce on the drought spells and possibly reduce on the rate of water loss.
Despite the good environmental policy regimes especially on conservation like National Environment Management Policy (1994), National Environmental Statute (Statute No. 4 of 1995), National Policy for the Conservation and Management of Wetland Resources of 1995, Forestry and Tree Planting of 2003, among others, many have remained merely on paper.
Encroachment and destruction of trees and green cover in highlands across the country have generally translated into decreases in production or income and thus in the availability of food, declining soil fertility, massive soil erosion, deterioration in water quality and quantity and rise in temperatures in the area.
Rivers like Nyamwamba, Nyamughasana, Lhubiriha, Rwembya, Sebwe and River Lhume have suffered severe reductions in their water volumes. Many streams have dried up in different parts of the country while others are on the verge of extinction. These changes have cosmic effects like changes in river runoff which affects the yields of rivers and reservoirs as the recharging of groundwater supplies. An increase in the rate of evaporation will also affect water supplies and contribute to the salinization of irrigated agricultural lands.