Flood Victims Invade Protected Land, UWA Repulses

By Leilah Bbaale

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has intensified surveillance on the borders of the reserve land to prevent encroachment by hundreds of people that have been rendered homeless by floods on Lake Albert.

Bashir Hangi, the UWA spokesperson tells Spice FM that the pressure against the reserve land is rising across the country as people demand land for settlement. He says much as the Authority appreciates the problems communities are facing, the law on wildlife is still strict that nobody should settle there or carry out any activity there.

Hangi says the Authority has done all it takes to prevent encroachment but as human communities, isolated cases of encroachment are registered and reacted upon immediately.

He says the pressure is not only around Bunyoro areas of Lake Albert but also in Rwenzori region around the River Semuliki and other rivers that experienced flooding near Queen Elizabeth National Park.

He asks the community to avoid encroaching on national parks and game reserves in order to be safe from wild animal attacks.

However, Daniel Muhairwe Mpamizo, the Buhaguzi County Member of Parliament in Kikuuube district insists UWA should be considerate and at least sign a memorandum of understanding that will allow people to temporarily settle in the protected game reserves, access firewood and construction materials in order to get shelter.

He says as an emergence approach, it could help the suffering Ugandans. The legislator however, blames the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness for failing to respond to these emergencies that have left thousands of people unattended to for nearly the whole year.

Flood victims have been looking around for the resettlement plan pledged by government since mid-last year.

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