Buy Life Jackets to curb water carnage –Rugunda
Government has threatened to crack down on sailors without life jackets, the Prime minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has revealed.
Dr Rugunda was on today responding to concerns raised by Veronica Isala Bichetero (NRM_Kaberamaido County) over rampant deaths on L.Kyoga during the Prime Minister’s question time during the plenary session.
Rugunda, blamed the deaths on lack of safety precautions by travelers. “It is true that our waters are still dangerous because we go on these waters without life jackets and sometimes without viable boats and vehicles,” he said.
It is estimated that a total of 5,000 deaths caused by drowning in Uganda are reported every year. In December last year, over 30 people including players and supporters of a local football team in Buliisa perished on Lake Albert after the boat they were traveling in capsized.
As a preventive measure, the premier told Parliament that government is extending checks on water vessels to reduce death cases. “Government will tighten up the regulatory mechanisms and regulations to ensure that there is more use of life jackets and boats are inspected,” said Rugunda.
In 2016, the government through joint efforts with Uganda Police and the Uganda National Roads Authority staged transport checks on major highways in the country that saw to a decline in the road carnage that had claimed lots of lives.
Ms. Bichetero’s other concern was the deaths that are caused by water hyacinth that has eaten a large part of the Kyoga sailing channels under the watchful eye of government.
On Sunday (January 29, 2017) five people died in Serere and Kaberamaido after their boats could not sail through the thick vegetation. “My request is (for the government) to immediately provide for safety on Lake Kyoga because the rudimentary measures used by our people is no longer safe,” Bichetero said.
In 2011, the government earmarked the establishment of Bukungu-Kagwara-Kaberamaido (BKK Ferry) which would bridge transport between Buyende, Serere, and Kaberamaido at Okile landing site.
To date, however, the project remains on paper with a few mentions by politicians while sailors continue to lurk on boats as a major vessel.