Extreme weather due to climate change is wreaking havoc on East Africans who depend on the soil, rivers and lakes to survive.
(All photos by Nick Trombola)By Nick Trombola
A bike with jerrycans for transporting water. Many people in rural places don’t have ready access to clean water, so traveling long distances is often necessary. Because they are cheap and versatile, bicycles are a common mode of transport, often with iconic yellow jerrycans on the back.
Ugandans transporting water to the town center of Amudat. Full jerrycans are typically stored in case of emergency, while the large black tank, which can also be found all over Africa, collects and stores rainwater.
Steven Ariong, a Daily Monitor correspondent, surveys the river flowing through the center of Amudat. Although the river is low in this photo because it was the dry season, Ariong said that during floods, the water can reach where his left arm is resting, almost 25 feet above where it is now, with little warning.
Young men from Amudat wash their motorcycle taxis, which Ugandans call Boda-Boda. Rivers like these are used for many things, from washing motorcycles and cars, bathing, cooling off and collecting water for animals.
Cattle in Amudat district are led to one of the few consistent sources of water in the area.
The Arechek Dam in northeastern Uganda. The water in Arechek is used for watering livestock and irrigation for nearby connected farms, but it is only one of three small dams in an area nearly the size of Scotland.
A small, irrigated farm in Napak, Uganda. The irrigation system and farm were funded by the Ugandan government in 2015 to help build up water supplies in Karamoja, the district that encompasses Amudat and Napak. Since then, it has remained one of the few irrigated farms in a district of more than one million people.
Fisherman of Dunga village in Kenya along the coast of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria was once abundant with tilapia and hundreds of species of endemic cichlids, but the introduction of invasive species and commercial overfishing have led to smaller and smaller yields for local fishermen each year.
Dunga Wetlands Pedagogical Centre coordinators Tobias Didi (left) and Leonard Akwany hold a Nile Perch. The Nile Perch is an invasive species introduced to Lake Victoria in the 1950s that can grow up to six feet long. The Nile Perch feeds on the tilapia and cichlids endemic to the lake and has wiped out hundreds of species in just a few decades.
Three out of four East Africans live in rural areas. For them, water is a necessity, but increasingly scarce.
Finding water that is both abundant and drinkable is often a daily chore, especially for herders tending to their flocks.
Increasingly intense and frequent bouts of extreme weather due to climate change have made finding clean water sources all the more difficult.
Depending on the season, harsh droughts can strip land of its moisture for months, while floods can easily wash away homes and crops.
For many in East Africa, water is one’s livelihood. Villages along rivers or on the coast of Lake Victoria depend on fishing for food and money. But environmental degradation and overfishing have led to problems for them as well.
I took these photographs while reporting in Uganda and Kenya.
Nick Trombola is a journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A graduate of News-Decoder partner Indiana University, he has interned with Bloom Magazine in Bloomington, Indiana, and spent time reporting in sub-Saharan Africa, first as an intern for The Daily Monitor newspaper in Kampala, Uganda, and most recently as a freelancer in Nairobi, Kenya.
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