By Francis Musinguzi, Information, Research and Communication Manager, KRC
It’s a dry, dusty and hot month of February 2021, but the floods in Ntoroko District in parts of Kanara and Butungama Sub Counties still linger on.
In the recent years, floods in Ntoroko have become more intense that the people there are left guessing what the future holds for them. Many people will have to permanently migrate to safer as their land stretching over 10 kilometers from the banks of Semuliki River is sub merged.
The reality of climate change refugees is right before our eyes. At the peak of the floods in mid-2020, over 7,000 people had been displaced and gathered at 15 different internally displaced peoples camps and finding it hard to meet their daily needs, let alone being decapitalized of their pastoral and fishing livelihoods permanently. Whereas people’s outcry is loud and clear, government does seem to provide tangible help remedy to the flooding problem to one of the richest livestock centres in this part of the country.
The onset of the March – May rainy season is feared to push the floods further and seize more grazing land and displace more fishing communities. Climate change catastrophes like this are poised to escalate land conflicts in the cattle corridor. The area that has for long been known for its largely communal land tenure, allowing the indigenous Batuku people an all-inclusive access to land for the rich and poor, is now on the move to adopt modern ranching where the rich have fenced off large chunks of land for individual farms. The land rush is quickly breaking the social fabric of society that has been held together for centuries by a communal land tenure system.
This escalation of unfortunate events, remains a recipe for disaster that the government and development agencies should worry about.