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Combined force to break up huge floating island heading to Jinja power dam

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Combined force to break up huge floating island heading to Jinja power dam

The big floating island is seen on the left near Kirinnya prison in Jinja. The government teams say they will break it up before it drifts towards Nalubaale hydro power dam 7kms downstream

Reports indicate that a multi-sectoral force comprising teams from the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF), the Ministries of Energy, Water and Environment has been mobilized to take on the difficult task of breaking up a huge floating island near Kirinnya prisons in Jinja, a part of which broke off, moved fast and disrupted power generation at Nalubaale and Bujagali hydro power dams on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the whole country experienced a power blackout when a huge floating island was allowed to approach Nalubaale and disrupt power generation. Sources say that the vegetation stuffed the turbines forcing a nation-wide blackout.

A press statement released yesterday, April 16, by Eskom Uganda Ltd, the Operators of Nalubaale Hydro Power Station, indicates that Tuesday’s disaster incident arose from a smaller part of the a bigger floating island, located about 7 kms from Nalubaale to be carried towards the dam.

The UPDF Chief of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi visited Jinja yesterday and pledged to deploy the army to destroy the island before it can reach Nalubaale. It is however not clear whether the UPDF has the tools to destroy the thing.

The Eskom statement has assured the general public that efforts are being made to prevent the re-occurence of Tuesday’s event. The Ministry of Works Engineers have predicted that they may need 2 days to break up the island. However, removing the debris, could take longer.

Last Tuesday’s nation-wide power outage caused a brief delay of the President’s address on the COVID-19 situation, but was rectified quickly with the support from the Ministry of Works which deployed excavators to remove the stuff.

Spirited efforts by different players in works ministry to remove the debris at Jinja’s Nalubaale HPS succeeded with restoration of power

Eskom and NEMA say that the increased frequency of floating islands is due to the rise in water levels in Lake Victoria.

But the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has pinned farmers around Kirinnya prisons in Jinja for secretly farming on the wetland that resulted into soils on the wetland loosening and eventually breaking away with increased rainfall.

Several other places along the shores of Lake Victoria have reported increased cases of floating islands blocking landing sites in recent weeks and months due to the rise in water levels in Lake Victoria.

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