OBONGI. The rising water levels of River Nile in Obongi district has forced authorities to suspend ferry operations between the district and Adjumani as the landing site has been submerged by flood waters.

The Sinyanya landing site has been flooded and extended for about 200 metres off the usual boundary submerging nearby buildings.

In a letter dated 9th July 2020 and signed by the executive director of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Ms Allen Kagina addressed to the resident district Commissioner Obongi Mr Gorre Gofin, she says that the rise in water level has affected ferry crossings.

“Our ferry network has been affected by the rise in water levels in lake Victoria. The water levels have consequently risen at River Nile hence affecting Obongi and Laropi ferry crossings”, the letter reads in part.

She continues “the current status of Sinyanya ferry landing site presents risks of harm to ferry and users due to flooding of the access road, damage to cargo and vehicles during embarking and disembarking operations and also potential damage to ferry hull”.

She also states that they have planned to carry out emergency landing site maintenance in order to resume safe ferry operations in the midst of high water levels.

“In the meantime, there is a need to temporarily close the ferry services at Obongi-Sinyanya ferry route for safe reasons”, the letter further states.

The maintenance works which have already commenced is expected to continue until 31st July 2020 and resume operations on 1st August.

The district Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) chairperson Mr Moses Power Amoko however said although the move is a positive one, there is need to provide alternative means of transport using motorboats particularly to help emergency cases in the health centres.

Power observed that with the closur of the Obongi-Sinyanya ferry operation, authorities should also identify alternative routes like Palorinya-Ogujebe where UNHCR invested a lot in improving the site.

Obongi RDC Mr Gorre Gofin expressed unhappiness that it will be a real challenge for the people of Obongi who would want to access Adjumani district in particular for the covid-19 mobile testing laboratory services.

Gorre said in Uganda out of all the 10 ferries, only 4 are operational due to flooding, he appealed to the people of Obongi not to take risk since their lives are very important by using other unsafe means.

“It is not the making of the government, it is a natural disaster, my prayer is that UNRA expedites on the work and the operations resume as soon as possible”, Gorre stated.

He said the contract for the road improvement under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) has been awarded to a contractor but appealed to him to work faster.

Obongi FA warning post to travellers in Adjumani about the closure of the ferry.