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School Reopening Plan Leaves L. Kyoga Water Victims 'Homeless'

The district has now secured tents and tarpaulins to provide temporary shelter for the residents as they work on a permanent site to enable learners to resume studies.
More than 300 people who were hosted in schools within Nakasongola district after being displaced by Lake Kyoga water levels have been ordered to vacate the premises as educational institutions prepare to reopen.

Schools will be opening their doors this Thursday for candidates and finalists in higher institutions of learning after more than seven months of inactivity. They were closed in March, as government disbanded concentration centres, to forestall the spread of coronavirus disease.

During the time of the school closures, another tragedy befell residents in areas that are neighbouring Lake Kyoga, when water levels increased submerging houses and displacing families. The nearby schools of Katuba and Mulonzi in Nabiswera sub-county, then became home,  providing shelter for hundreds of citizens who had become homeless.

But Nakasongola district chairman Sam Kigula says that all people occupying school premises were given up to the end of today, to vacate the school buildings and enable the candidates to resume studies on October 15. Kigula explained that the two schools will also host candidates from Busone and Mone Primary Schools which were submerged by rising water levels.

The district has now secured tents and tarpaulins to provide temporary shelter for the residents as they work on a permanent site to enable learners to resume studies. Kigula adds that he, and the Office of the Prime Minister, is discussing an urgent plan for the resettlement of the affected persons to Kyarubanga Forest Reserve. At least 1,614 households have been displaced by rising waters.

George Wilson Mboineki, the Headteacher of Mulonzi Primary School says that some of the affected persons have already left the school buildings in line with the directive.  Mulonzi has only 22 Primary seven candidates.

Meanwhile. in Lwampanga sub-county, Mariam Nabutaka, the District Councillor says that pupils who are resuming studies face a sanitation crisis as toilets in three schools are filled over the huge number of residents who were using them during the closure.

Nabutaka lists the most affected schools as Zengebe Church of Uganda, Kyebisire and Lwampanga Roman Catholic Primary school whose toilets are near to capacity after residents whose toilets were submerged by rising water levels, opted for the school facilities. The rising water levels at Lake Kyoga submerged close to 550 pit latrines across the sub-counties of Kalungi, Lwampanga, Lwabyata and Nabiswera in Nakasongola district.

By the time of compiling the story, Nakasongola District Education Officer George William Kajura had summoned all headteachers to discuss the preparedness of schools to reopen this week amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.      

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