Revelers stay away from Entebbe beaches

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In short
The four beaches in Entebbe closed after over a dozen people drowned on Boxing Day are reeling from the impact of the tragedy as revelers have stayed away from them for the New Year festivities.

The four beaches in Entebbe closed after over a dozen people drowned on Boxing Day are reeling from the impact of the tragedy as revelers have stayed away from them for the New Year festivities.
Aero Beach, Sports Beach, Lido Beach and Spennah Beach were closed by the Entebbe authorities and the police following the incidents in which dozens of bodies got washed on the beaches after Boxing Day.

On that day thousands of beach goers had thronged the beaches, the most popular, in the Entebbe area.

The Entebbe authorities and the police have since reopened the beaches but on condition that they adhere to new guidelines.

The conditions include fencing off the swimming area in order to allow restricted access to the water. The beaches are also to increase the number of life guards who are to work hand-in-hand with marine police who are to be permanently deployed.
The conditions also include prohibition of swimming in the waters after 5:00 pm. The beaches are to install loud public address systems which will be used for alerts, warnings and other relevant information for revelers.
The beaches are also to beef up security and deal severely with errant revelers.
The parties have also agreed to develop a more comprehensive beach operations policy that will spell out the dos and don'ts as well as sanctions in order to provide a long-term solution to tragedies like that on Boxing Day.
When Uganda Radio Network visited the beaches, they were still closed to revelers. At Aero Beach, a fence had already been erected closing off the water front. There were also no revelers at Spennah, Lido and Sports beaches by the time URN visited.
John Mande, the manager of Aero Beach, said their business has been severely affected, adding that New Year's events had to be cancelled because they have to abide by the conditions.
Mande said it will take some time before their customers regain trust in them and return to the beaches.

Seven bodies were washed up at Aero Beach alone. Others appeared at Lido and Spennah beaches. All the three beaches, as well as Sports Beach, are in the same place and neighbour each other.
On Monday, Mande had emphatically denied that nobody downed at Aero Beach. He did admit that just one body had been picked up, adding that the victim could have drowned elsewhere and only got washed on the beach.
Clip: Mande
Those in the water reportedly swam till nightfall and no amount of warnings could get them out. Many, already intoxicated with alcohol, swam offshore to avoid the lifesavers, some ending up drowning.
Officially the death toll stands at 13 although sources say up to 22 could have drowned that night.
Entebbe beaches have become very popular with revelers, many of whom come from Kampala and other places to enjoy themselves especially on weekends and big days.


About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.

In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."