MUHANGA - Rice farmers in Rugeramigozi marshlands, whose crops were destroyed by an oil tanker that over turned and later on spilled diesel on the marshlands last Saturday, are now seeking compensation for crop damages.
The tanker overturned at Rugeramigozi marshlands in Nyamabuye sector, Muhanga district, killing a Somali national on the spot. The accident also left hundreds of liters of diesel oil spilt into the marshlands contaminating over 200 hectares of rice and water sources at the Gifumba water treatment plant that is run by the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWASA) .
Gaspard Nyandwi, the farmers’ representative, stated: “Farmers need to be compensated for the damage caused by the oil spill. We need experts to help us evaluate the damage, because it is evident that some farmers won’t be able to harvest rice.”
EWASA has started diverting the contaminated water in Rugeramigozi marshlands so as to reduce the amount of damage caused by the incident, an official said.
Antoine Sebalinda, the Ewasa water station manager, confirmed that the accident has caused a big impact on the water supply trend and farmlands in the region. He, however, stated that resolving the water scarcity may take a couple of days than earlier anticipated.
“The damage is being evaluated by Ewasa experts. However, the oil spill has caused a huge setback in water supply and reduction in water sources, we are now diverting the diesel that has been discharged from the marshlands , a process which may take longer than expected,” Sebalinda said.
Local leaders have also asked residents to be patient and try to use other smaller water canals in the area and water reserves in their homesteads, while a solution to the problem is being found/
By press time, the Ewasa water experts had successfully diverted the contaminated water flow; however residents within the range of the accident scene continued to collect the diesel residues from the stream for the purposes of lighting their homes, according to some residents who spoke to this reporter.