UNEP Urged To Support Rehabilitation Of Africa’s Second Largest Ox – Bow Lake

Siaya governor, James Orengo is calling on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to intervene and save Africa’s second largest Ox-bow lake in the wake of a recent disaster caused by a broken dyke.

Orengo said that the disaster, which saw Lake Kanyaboli lose 80% of its water volume, has had a serious impact on the local ecosystem, with both aquatic and non-aquatic animals feeling nature’s wrath as a result.

Speaking at the site where a dyke collapsed, causing the lake to spew its contents into Yala swamp, Orengo said there is need for UNEP, other United nations bodies such as the UNHABITAT and the national government to mobilize resources and undertake proper studies on how to rehabilitate the lake and normalize human settlement that was affected in both Siaya and Busia counties.

‘This needs a lot of resources and studies to come up with a blueprint and work plan that is going to change this environment positively,’ said the governor who added that the disaster had adverse effects on the animal and plant lives within the ecosystem.

He said that what is required to rehabilitate the effects of the disaster was enormous and it will be impossible for the county government of Siaya to deal with it.

‘I have talked with our neighbours, Busia, and we have agreed in principal that we need to talk with the national government and other partners,’ said Orengo who was accompanied by top county government officials, among them county secretary, Joseph Ogutu and chief of staff, colonel (retired) Cyrus Oguna and several county executive committee members.

Orengo said that the country cannot afford to see the unique ecosystem that includes the biggest freshwater wetland waste away.

‘Yala swamp is a crown jewel of the county,’ he said, adding that the county has plans of developing an eco-city in the area.

Early this month, Lake Kanyaboli broke a dyke that separates it from Yala Swamp, pouring water into the wetland.

In the process, various fish species that were unique to it escaped into the swamp, as farmers lost crops due to flooding.

Downstream, several homes in parts of Usonga and Budalangi were flooded, displacing several families.

Source: Kenya News Agency