The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Sixty Fishemen Trapped By Hyacinth for Three Days Rescued

Photo: New Vision
Water Hyacinth in Lake Victoria

OVER 60 fishermen who were stranded in Lake Victoria for three days after being trapped the water hyacinth weed have been rescued. The fishermen were rescued and immediately rushed to Kendu Bay sub-district hospital. The fishermen looked emaciated. Twelve of them were rescued by a KWS chopper while some others were rescued by colleagues and relatives.

The other lot managed to dock on the beach by manually removing the weed which enabled their boats sail, a process that took them several hours. Rachuonyo North DC William Lenaremo said the last batch of fishermen to be rescued was in three boats that were trapped several miles inside the lake. The fishermen were from Kotieno, Rakwaro and Rambira beaches near Kendu Bay town.

The fishermen had gone to the lake on Wednesday evening separately in 21 boats, but only one boat managed to sail through, leaving the rest trapped. The boats got stuck at different points of the lake, ranging between one to six kilometers away from the beaches, after the wind blew the weed in the direction of the fishermen. The fishermen were forced to stay without food and water supplies, after they exhausted all the food they had carried.

Narrating his ordeal one of the fishermen, Joel Okwatch from Rambira beach said they were forced to survive on polluted water and raw fish after their food reserves were exhausted. Some fishermen were forced to throw away some of the fish they had caught because it started to go bad and rot.

Lenaremo, who coordinated the rescue efforts, appealed to fishermen to avoid going to fish when the weed is still in the lake. Last year over 20 passengers and 30 fishermen were rescued by military choppers in the lake Victoria in Homabay in the same spot where 13 other fishermen were trapped by the weed in 2007.

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