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Four fishermen recuperate after harsh lake experience

Thursday September 27 2018

A boat trapped in hyacinth.

Boats submerged in water hyacinth at Kendu Bay in Homabay County. Four fishermen are admitted in hospital after being trapped in Lake Victoria for three days. PHOTO | TONY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Four fishermen are recuperating at Homa Bay County Referral Hospital where they were admitted after spending three days trapped by water hyacinth in Lake Victoria.

They were trapped on Monday morning at Achich Beach in Homa Bay Town.
Their boat got clogged on the water weed which halted its movement.

The four were identified as Kennedy Oluoch,27, Raphael Otiu,36 and Samuel Otieno,31 all from Chiga village and Shadrack Ogutu,28 from Kochia. They were rescued on Wednesday evening by officials from the Kenya Maritime Authority from Kisumu County.
They were on a fishing expedition when the incident happened.
Mr Oluoch told journalists that they struggled to get out of the water without success.

“We tried by all means to get out of the water but we were not successful,” he said adding that their phones ran out of power which hindered their ability to communicate to their colleagues on the main land.
Mr Oluoch added that they also ran out of food and had to eat leaves of water hyacinth to survive.
“We drunk water directly from the lake since the ones we carried in bottles ran out. We survived on only two loaves of bread for the three days we were trapped,” he said.
The fishermen were also exposed to risks of contracting malaria and other infections associated with mosquito bites.

Homa Bay County Disaster Management and the Kenya Maritime Authority led the rescue mission.
County Disaster Management Director Eliud Onyango said the operation was made possible after getting modern rescue boats from Kisumu. The operation lasted eight hours.
The four were weak and exhausted when they were rescued.
Mr Onyango told fishermen and boat owners to always have good communication gadgets which can enable them make distress calls when they get trapped in the lake.

“Fishermen should also accompany one another when venturing in the lake. They should be at least three fishermen in a single boat. This would enable them share experience and communication devices when at risk of being trapped in the lake,” he said.
This comes as fishermen called on the government to set aside funds to be used in manual removal of the water hyacinth from the lake.
Homa Bay County Beach Management Units Networks chairman Edward Oremo said the weed has caused negative economic impact to the fishing community in the lake.