Traders count losses as swelling waters of Lake Victoria flood businesses
By Harold Odhiambo and Isaiah Gwengi
| March 21st 2020
Businesses around Lake Victoria are staring at huge losses as the region starts feeling the impact of the swelling waters of the water body.
So dire is the situation that several beaches and landing sites are now completely marooned by water, destroying the livelihoods of thousands of people in the Nyanza region.
In the last few months, the region has been experiencing backflows from the lake, with scientists attributing it to climate change as nature unleashes its wrath.
Several high-end hotels and resorts that have been the home for several local and international tourists are now threatened by water, with their proprietors claiming that the backflow risked putting them out of business.
A spot check by Saturday Standard across several beaches showed that businesses have run aground because of the swollen lake. Homes have also been submerged, crops destroyed and entire homesteads rendered inhabitable by the lake’s waters.
Dunga beach, which had been tipped to be the landmark fish-eating zone in Kisumu after the famous Lwang’ni beach was reclaimed by the Kenya Railways Corporation, is now a shell.
The hotels that had been set up at the beach are now marooned with visitors unable to access the facilities.
“The waters have driven us away from the beach. Every other day, we move to high ground and the water follows suit,” said Eunice Apiyo, an hotelier.
A fish market that had been constructed by the county government of Kisumu to promote trade is also completely inaccessible after it was surrounded by water.
In Bondo and neighbouring Budalang’i sub-counties, dozens of business establishments have also been severely affected by the backflows.
Chris Mutuku, the proprietor of Crystal Charlotte Resort, said the perennial flash floods have worsened the situation. His premises is among those that have been affected by nature’s wrath, which has made it inaccessible to customers.
“The losses are running into millions. The road leading to the hotel has been swept away and our customers are unable to access the facility,” said Mutuku.
A recent study by North Carolina State University’s Department of Marine, Earth and Atmosphere Sciences in the US reveals that water levels in Lake Victoria will rise in the next 10-15 years due to changes in weather patterns as a result of global warming.
North Carolina State University’s Director of Climate Prof Fredrick Semazzi said the lake will replenish its waters at an almost unprecedented rate, which will result in its rise. “The climate change projections indicate that we should expect an increase in rainfall around Lake Victoria. There is this dichotomy that the current decrease in rainfall is going to stop and an increase will be experienced,” he said.
The research stipulates that use of advanced meteorological tools alone will not be sufficient because there will be need to train experts on how to handle them to get credible climate predictions.
Fishermen are also crying foul as they have been forced to look for alternative landing sites. When this was predicted five years ago, many lakeside businesses either ignored it or dismissed it altogether as another global warming propaganda.
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