Uganda Parliament Rise Concern over Fire Outbreaks in National Parks

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After outbreaks that left the two parks of Queen Elizabeth National Park of Park View and Mazike Lodges which were burnt for this case. An investigation presented to Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry report indicated that the fire that shattered both lodges was from protected areas of the park close to these lodges.

The committee couldn’t establish the real origin of the fires if it started from the protected areas or from the surrounding communities.

The Committee Deputy Chairperson Catherine Laamwaka said, “Though all parties may be denying starting the fire, according to UWA fie management plan, burning is done between January and February, and July and August which is about the same time, the fire gutted park View Safari Lodge.”

The committee also asserted that fire is prevalent in the grasslands, savannah and woodlands therefore there’s a need for controlled bush burning in July/August and January/February.

“We are informed that the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities in partnership with UWA has deployed park-specific fire management plans to guide staff and other stakeholders in handling fires that threaten the integrity of protected areas,” Said Lamwaka.

Members of Parliament recommended that UWA should first review through the compensation regulations and policy so as to operationalize the compensation scheme.

Also, the MPs proposed that the government should amend the Uganda Wildlife Act 2019, to incorporate current dynamics in conservation areas resulting in compensation for damages caused by a fire that origins in protected areas.

The parliamentary committee recommended that government should assess the loss value incurred by Park View Safari Lodge and share the losses between UWA and the Lodge.

Tom Butime, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, said there is an allocation of Ugsh42 billions in 2022/2023 budget to cater for the electric fence project.

“This is a World Bank project and that money will be availed. There will be an advertisement for bids so that companies can apply to do the work. Said Butime.

Anita Among the speaker of parliament said, there was a need for the provision of Funds to UWA to help in procuring firefighting tools in the vicinity of all national parks and installation of CCTV Cameras to record activities within and around protected areas.

 

 

 

 

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