Impact of Oil Spill in Uganda

Categories: Oil Spill

Social Economic Conditions

The first is the slow, poor and inadequate response by the emergency services (the police, fire fighters and ambulance crew). Secondly, poor road infrastructure also contributes to the disasters. The causes are discussed in detail below. The road should be improved, and more networks introduced improve on accessibility of some areas.
Some of the roads are totally damaged and are the cause of some accidents on the roads which could have been avoided


Poverty plays a positive role in the process of recovery after a disaster paving the pathways for the triggering of a hot debate in disaster management.

Originality/value of this work refers to the needs of reconsidering how late‐modernity replicates the conditions for what the disaster has been. Not only does this accommodate all our previous beliefs in dealing with victims and survivors but explores the cynicism between suffering and mass consumption.
Poverty is the lack or insufficiency of money to meet basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter.

Poverty can be measured in monetary terms based on the monthly (or annual) expenditure of a given individual. That expenditure is then compared to a threshold called the poverty line. However, poverty is much more than the mere lack of money. It is also about deprivation in other important areas of wellbeing such as education, health, water, and housing. \nDisasters should not be seen on their own. Poverty plays a huge part here, as the poorer the people are, the less resilient to hazards they will be.

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It is necessary to understand the current socio-economic conditions which make people in Uganda more vulnerable to hazards such as oil spills than they otherwise would. However, even with the significant reduction in poverty over the last 20 years, the Majority of the population remains vulnerable.\nGovernment is therefore called upon in strengthening efforts to target vulnerable groups, build resilience and reduce inequalities. The report provides useful insights on both the main drivers of vulnerability and successful interventions which have helped to reduce the vulnerabilities facing Ugandans.
Despite the good progress we have made, many challenges still loom around.

Corruption and lack of fiscal reform

This led to the IMF suspending Uganda’s funding due to the current state of politics, policies, technical approaches and corruption. Economic reforms involve socio-economic pain that can be politically unacceptable. Besides, the country’s current state of the budget deficit and debt is so critical that it needs external support. That is partly the reason there are talks with the World Bank and the IMF for a Policy Support \n5.3.3 Poor response from emergency services
Uganda faces oil tanker fire disasters that claim the lives of many and leave many more injured. These result from road accidents involving an oil tanker that usually involve oil spills. Unfortunately, these incidents usually attract crowds that scramble to scoop the leaking oil. Exposure to fuels increases the risk of a fire explosion causing death and injury to many. In 2013, over 40 people were killed, and many others seriously burned in a blaze that engulfed an oil tanker after it was hit by another vehicle in Namungoona and in December 2001, 90 people died under similar circumstances in the eastern part of the country. The population should be sensitized on the dangers of getting close to such scenes . police should increase on the security and condone off such areas until the situation is under control.

 The general inefficiency of fire fighters in Uganda has been observed in their late arrivals to put out fires, although the possibility of getting these statistics was not possible. However, the President of Uganda among the fire equipment he handed over to the police firefighting department, included video cameras and monitors that will detect time when firemen received information about the fire, the time of their response and will also capture how firemen fight the fire.There is also a lack of water hydrants as some have been vandalized while others have been blocked by illegally constructed buildings where the hydrants once stood.
In addition, firefighting officers are mainly located in major towns and it takes them a long time to respond to oil tanker spills and fires that occur in remote areas far away from major towns.
There are also few adequately trained fire officers to deal with emergencies. Some fire fighters have been known to get to the scene of a fire and then struggle to operate the fire engine equipment. In addition to firefighting personnel not being trained on how to use the firefighting equipment, it is claimed that they have failed to conduct drills and ensure that their fire-fighting equipment is in working condition.
The government should establish firefighting training schools where adequate training can be done to improve on the response to oil disaster. More so when equipment is bought, the fire officers should get the adequate knowledge on how to use the new and modernised machines. \nWhen oil tankers are involved in accidents, many times as in other kinds of disasters, the police do not respond as fast as they should. This is because many of the accidents occur in rural areas far away from police stations and so it takes the police a while to get to the scene. The oil that the tankers are carrying starts spilling. More police stations and police vehicles together with ambulances and fire brigade should be stationed along the roads so as to reduce on issues of distance \n5.3.4


Sabotage as one of the reasons to blame when it comes to weaknesses in disaster preparedness because some corrupt oil tanker drivers move while selling some of the oil that they are transporting and intentionally causing the accidents to cover this up. They often draw huge crowds that scramble to scoop the oil resulting in accidental fires and many deaths and injuries. A way of a monitoring device or system should be placed to track the movements of the oil tankers and a signal to show the relevant office when the fuel tanker has reduced in quantity before arrival at the destination \n5.3.5 Lack of Capacity by Police
In addition to arriving at the scene of the tanker accidents too late, the police often lack the capacity to deal with the accidents and huge crowds as when they get to the scene, they are normally not well coordinated. This leads to them being overwhelmed by the situation and the huge crowds at the scene. When oil tankers are involved in accidents, many times as in other kinds of disasters, the police do not respond as fast as they should. \nThe police should be specialized in training to be able to handle such situations. First, the research also revealed that the police force does not have enough vehicles to respond to emergency situations. The few vehicles available are normally assigned to serve numerous police stations and are also not regularly serviced. Some are out of use due to mechanical problems. Furthermore, these vehicles are based in police posts located in town centres and so when an oil tanker emergency arises far from a town centre, it takes a while for a police vehicle to become available that could transport police officers to the scene of the oil tanker accident, after a vehicle becomes available, the police also face logistical problems such as inadequate fuel allocations for patrols and emergency response.

 Ambulance crew

The ambulances are mainly located in hospitals in major towns and take a while to respond to oil tanker fire emergencies that mostly occur in remote areas far away from towns with this kind of situation, it becomes impossible for ambulance crew to provide the necessary emergency services needed to mitigate oil tanker fire disasters in Uganda.\nThis lack of capacity combined with the slow and inadequate response to oil tanker accidents and spills turns them into disasters that could have been prevented. Although there is a National Policy on Disaster Management in Uganda, this does not seem to translate into practice. Hence, the same mistakes are repeated over and over again leading to loss of life and injuries.
Air ambulances which could respond more quickly are not available in Uganda could be introduced to be able to reach out into far reaching areas. According to the Ministry of Health, they do not have a single operational air ambulance in the country. The government should purchase a number of these air ambulances to coordinate with the other stationed road ambulances to improve on quick response


Findings from the research revealed that people only became aware of the risks involved in siphoning oil once the fire has killed many people in a given incidence. Apart from poverty, ignorance has also contributed hugely to the oil tanker fire disasters. People are unaware of the dangers. Some of the oil tanker fires have been started by people who approach the scenes of the leaking oil tankers while smoking cigarettes and then proceed to discard the burning butts at the scene, hence igniting the oil (Focus group discussion, 2016). Such people are ignorant of how dangerous oil spills are and require education and awareness on this. There also seems to be ignorance on the dangers of siphoning oil from overturned tankers as people are not aware that the heat generated by the engine of the oil tanker or other smaller vehicles parked nearby could start a fire.

The research also revealed that people were ignorant of the law that says that it is against the law to steal or take items from vehicles involved in accidents which is a common practice in Uganda. According to the Ugandan laws, the Penal Code Cap 120, this is theft which is an offence that is punishable. However, this law does not seem to be enforced by the police and courts as people are never arrested and charged in court for siphoning oil or stealing property. This has led to people if it is okay to take items from vehicles involved in accidents or siphon oil from overturned tankers. Many children have been among those injured or killed in the oil tanker fires mainly because ignorance and curiosity make them rush to accident scenes to see what is happening. The children need to be educated on the need to avoid oil tanker accident scenes.

Poor Road infrastructure

Most of the questionnaire respondents felt that poorly maintained roads contributed to the oil tanker fire disasters. Many roads in Uganda are poorly maintained and this makes it easy for oil tankers to overturn or be involved in accidents. In some areas, there are also no road signs warning drivers of black spot areas. The senior police officer interviewed also claimed that overloading of the oil tankers is another problem that is exacerbated by corrupt officials at oil depots, revenue authorities and weigh bridges who take bribes to allow overloaded tankers through the check points. This leads to destruction of roads and oil tanker accidents that eventually turn into disasters.

Lack of effective monitoring system on maximum hours of drive

The oil tanker drivers also drive for long distances and become exhausted as fuel depots are far from major towns. Some do not take enough rest due to pressure to deliver the oil as quickly as possible, leading to oil tanker accidents that turn into fire disasters. Uganda does not have an effective monitoring system that requires oil tanker drivers to drive for a certain maximum number of hours per day in order to make sure that they do not overwork themselves. Some of the accidents are also caused by careless and reckless drivers.

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Impact of Oil Spill in Uganda. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Impact of Oil Spill in Uganda
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