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L. Albert floods submerge Shs 1bn modern fish market in Panyimur

Authorities in Panyimur Sub County, Pakwach district have been left scratching their heads after the only modern fish market and the leading source of revenue in the sub county was recently submerged by flooding water from Lake Albert.

Panyimur market is located in Sigla village West of Lake Albert, near where the White Nile kisses the lake on its way to South Sudan. 

Unable to use the now-flooded market, many fish mongers have resorted to selling their fish from their homesteads, a practice that authorities say has affected revenue collection for the sub county.

“Panyimur market contributes over Shs 200m to the sub county’s revenue. Since the facility is greatly affected by the rising water level from Lake Albert, the sub county’s activities will greatly be affected drastically,” said the area LC III Chairman, Shabban Ofoi.

Panyimur’s Shs 1.4 bn modern fish market is the biggest in the entire West Nile region, and was constructed with the support of the Iceland embassy to enable quality assurance for fish handling at Sigla landing site and promote hygiene of fish at the stalls.

Ofoi says the fish market was built in phases starting 2013. It was completed last year and commission early this year. However, he says the market is yet to realize its full potential since it was first affected by the COVID-19-related directives that hampered trade for several months this year, and now by persistent floods that have submerged it.

The LC III Chairman is worried that the mitigation measures being put in place, such as building retaining walls to prevent water from entering the newly constructed fish market, may not be sufficient to resolve the flooding. 

He also cited other government projects that have been affected by the floods, such as the Shs 1.3bn modern landing site at Dei as well as water projects worth about Shs 600m, also in Dei.

Human settlements have not been spared by the flooding either.

“Many human settlements and human activities at the landing side and as far as 100 meters from the buffer zones of Lake Albert have been destroyed,” Ofoi said. 

Panyimur Market Chairman, Jeol Okorboth Mvor says the floods have killed off their businesses and put their livelihoods at stake.

“Our customers  have no access to our business points due to the floods which have blocked the way to our shops.”

Okorboth adds that many businessmen at the landing sites are facing difficulty servicing their loans because their businesses have been affected by the floods.

“Since we don’t have business at the moment, financial institutions must visit the place and assess their clients’ situation to avoid doubts in paying back their loans,” Okorboth said. 

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