Traders and fishermen on Lake Victoria in Migori County are set to benefit from a government project meant to curb calamities arising from boat accidents in the lake and other rivers in the lake basin region.
Governor Zachary Obado officially handed over a site at Sori to Fredrick Shisia on behalf of Principal Secretary State Department for Shipping and Maritime Nancy Karigithu where the Kenya Maritime Authority with the help of the County Government will construct an Emergency Search and Rescue Centre.
The Governor applauded the move by the National Government to aid in the safety and rescue of fishermen who have for a long time suffered calamities hitting them in the lake with some disappearing and failing to be traced.
Obado said the centre will also enable the residents to get trained on the safety measures to be put in place before disaster strikes them deep in the lake.
Addressing the media at Sori Bay in Migori County Shisia said that the initiative comes barely a week after Homa Bay County handed over a parcel of land to the Central Government at Mbita where a similar centre will be established.
The government plans to construct five such emergency Search and Rescue (SAR) centres in all Lake Victoria catchment Counties to address transport safety in the lake and rivers in the South Nyanza region.
Besides Homa bay and Migori, others will be stationed in Wichlum in Siaya, and Mulukoba in Busia. A sub–Regional Maritime Rescue Centre (MRCC) will be constructed in Kisumu.
Shisia said the emergency centres will be capable of receiving and responding to distress calls, locating the victims, mobilizing, controlling and coordinating rescue missions using fast rescue boats with trained crews.
As a community social responsibility, the project will also involve the construction of fish by-products handling sheds, advanced fish drying racks and smoking kilns. These will be used by women who are engaged in processing by-products of the Nile Perch that is commonly found in the freshwater lake.
The project is being implemented under the Multinational Lake Victoria Communication and Transport (MLVCT) infrastructure initiative, a partnership between Kenya Government and the African Development Bank.
By Geoffrey Satia