Government still has much to do to respond to landslide disasters now common in Mount Elgon areas. Major General Julius Oketta, the relief and disaster coordinator in the office of the Prime Minister, acknowledges that little or no measures have been designed to protect lives and property when landslides occur.
Government still has much to do to respond to landslide disasters now common in Mount Elgon areas.
Major General Julius Oketta, the relief and disaster coordinator in the office of the Prime Minister, acknowledges that little or no measures have been designed to protect lives and property when landslides occur.
General Oketta, now in Bududa to coordinate relief operations for the June 25th landslides survivors, says all landslide-prone areas around Mount Elgon for instance lack community–based approaches in responding to or reducing landslide disasters.
Oketta, however, says many lessons have so far been learnt from the 2010 landslides in Bududa that killed more than 300 people, even though the response mechanism has remained the same.
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Oketta explains that information about the second Bududa landslides that buried at least two villages in Bulucheke Sub County was received in time and some UPDF officers deployed there in time. He says the presence of army and police personnel however had minimal impact in the absence of required equipment.
The Prime Minister’s office had to hire wheel loaders, tractors and forklifts from Farm Industries Limited before the recovery process could begin. The machines had by Sunday covered less than a quarter of the area covered by mudslides with two human bodies recovered. This was six days after the Monday afternoon mudslides.
Bududa District chairman John Baptist Nambeshe said the district authorities had attempted to draw its own Disaster Risk Reduction plan after the 2010 disaster, but were affected by lack of money.
He says they planned to purchase standby equipment and ambulances that could swiftly be moved to landslides scenes but that has not happened.
Nambeshe says the dreadful events in the moment of the landslide and futile rescue attempts were regrettable.
Disaster Preparedness Minister, Dr. Steven Malinga says the aftermath of the landslides created an extraordinary mix from which there was much to learn.
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Malinga says government would have forcefully relocated all the people from risky spots on Mount Elgon but it lacks legal basis. He says forceful eviction and relocation would create constitutional problems.
Meanwhile Major General Oketta says it is still possible to avoid human deaths in landslide-prone areas once communities are educated.
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landslides in bududa