The High Impact Weather Lake System project has advocated more investment from international development partners for the implementation of the Regional Early Warning System Vision 2025.
Highway is the World Meteorological Organisation project for Lake Victoria
The funding, according to reports, will make a huge difference on the lives of 25 per cent of the Lake Victoria surrounding population who earn their livelihood from it.
Described as the world’s most dangerous lake due to its erratic extreme weather conditions, Lake Victoria is home to over 30 million people who live near its coastline.
CNN reports that over 5,000 people lose their lives on the East African lake yearly. This is being attributed to navigation accidents caused by strong winds and waves.
Despite negative news about Lake Victoria, its economic importance cannot be underestimated. It is said to host Africa’s largest inland fishery, which produces about one million tonnes of fish yearly, employing over 200,000 fisher-folks and generating over $500m in exports.
It is the second biggest freshwater lake in the world, the biggest in Africa and the chief reservoir for River Nile. Added to this is the presence of about 1,400 landing sites or beaches from which 50,000 boats operate. But the toll on life is heavy due to inadequacy of early weather alerts in the lake.
This informs the growing momentum to scale up the investment as part of support for the implementation plan of the East African Community Regional Early Warning System Vision 2025.
The early alert, which will be sent through local media and mobile phones, will help the locals to gain efficient understanding of thunderstorm evolution and factors controlling storms severity.
The ongoing Highway project, according to reports, has been addressing some of the issues and has reduced yearly weather-related deaths by 30 per cent. The economic benefits of the project is estimated at $44m yearly.
WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taales, disclosed that the projected has demonstrated that improved access to, and use of, co-designed early warnings has protected lives and livelihoods as well as the economic and social well-being of the communities living in the Lake Victoria Basin.
“Highway demonstrates the difference partner funding can make to lives and livelihoods when implemented through a coordinated and collaborative approach. Fewer lives lost and less damage to properties,” Julius Court, Deputy High Commissioner and Development Director, FCDO, Nairobi, Kenya, said.
The massive lake, which is recorded to be some 70,000 square kilometres, stretches through Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.