UGANDA, Kamwokya | Real Muloodi News | Kamwokya Kisenyi II Zone residents are yet to recover from the loss of their property after a powerful fire gutted their area last week. Residents were speechless as the fire raged for hours. Several people in Kamwokya had constructed under power lines, and the area is congested.
Harriet Nalujja, senior safety and standards engineer at Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited UETCL, says pressure on the land caused the fire outbreak and people are not supposed to settle in gazetted areas.
“You realize we are increasing in number, so the pressure on the land has increased. People come to stay in gazetted areas that are not meant to be used. When you stand on the side of the conductor, count 15 metres on the right and 15 metres on the left, no structures should be there,” Harriet said.
Mama Mirembe, a resident of Kamwokya and a mother of three, narrates how she was selling fruits by the roadside when the fire broke out. She kept wailing, wondering where she would seek refuge.
“I am finished. Where do I start from?” she wondered. “All the money I had has been burnt. The fire has burnt everything I had in the house, so what am I going to do? God should take me away because I don’t know how I am going to feed my children,” she said amidst tears.
Mama Mirembe could rescue nothing from her house because she was far.
Many people fled their houses when the area suddenly caught fire, destroying everything they owned. “I just grabbed my children and ran. Property can be replaced but lives cannot,” one woman said.
Harriet Nalujja, senior safety and standards engineer, UETCL, said, “The fire was too much that it went up. Since the incidents happened just below the line, too much heat affected the conductors and caused them to expand. The conductors have a limit of expansion, so when that limit reaches, it has to break. When the conductor broke, it hit people. Two died on the spot, a male called Okware and a 17-year-old girl called Carol. Others got injured because they got shocked.”
Pamela Byoruganda, the principal public relations officer at UETCL, advises people on how to avoid unnecessary accidents.
“There should be easements of about 13.5 metres on either side of the conductor, to ensure that you have clearance between the ground and the conductors to avoid unnecessary electrifications from the ground. Residents may carry out some bit of activities like growing crops near conductors but not settlements.” Pamela says.
Section 87 of the Electricity Act 1999 states: “The laws of Uganda criminalize encroachment within the high voltage installations that leave corridors, which is punishable by imprisonment and a fine.”
People should not construct around or under power lines, transformers, poles or supporting stay wires.
WATCH: THE KAMWOKYA FIRE
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