West Nile count the cost of dry weather as child dies in bush fire

West Nile count the cost of dry weather as child dies in bush fire

18 February 2012

published by www.monitor.co.ug

Uganda — The prolonged dry spell that has seen spates of wild fires has left families in despair in the West Nile region.

In the latest fire, two children were burnt Thursday afternoon Atyak Sub-county, Zombo District. The children, according to the district chairman, Mr Emmy Kakura, were burnt as they were returning from hunting.

“It is mysterious because we gathered that the children reportedly got a white sheep and as they tried chasing it, a wild fire just somehow started and engulfed them. One of the victims passed on at Nyapea Hospital,” he said, adding that in the current weather conditions, people should desist from bush-burning.

Meteorologists last week said the simmering heat waves is expected to continue until the end of Febuary.

Several huts, plantations and valuable natural resources like forests have been destroyed in the last three months.

Bush -burning stopped
This week alone, at least six acres of sugarcane plantations were burnt in Zombo, a market housing about 500 traders, was burnt down and 20 family members in Itula Sub-county in Moyo District left homeless.

Although the Arua district food security and nutrition ordinance bars bush burning, the control and execution of punishment to the offenders remain largely useless.

Part 5(16) of the ordinance states that: A person who engage in bush burning commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a fine not exceeding two currency (Shs40,000) or imprisonment for three months or both.

The Itula Sub-county, Moyo, deputy chairperson, Mr Ceaser Jobile, warned that those who flout environmental laws will not be spared.

“We are still looking for the suspect who has caused this tragedy in our community. People should stop unnecessary bush-burning,” he said.

Ms Joseline Ayikoru, one of the farmers who lost three acres of cassava and banana plantation this week said, “I thought I would use the crops after harvest for household upkeep, but now we may see famine,” she said.

Reported by Felix Warom Okello, Peter Aligo and Martin Okudi

Damages to West Nile

• 200 acres of food crops like sorghum, cowpeas, and cassava, sugar cane and banana plantations destroyed in Moyo and Arua.
• 24 grass-thatched houses burnt, with five goats and six head of cattle in Moyo District killed.
• 20 houses at Koboko Market destroyed.
• 10 families left homeless in Lajopi in Moyo District.

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