Desperation in Bududa as Survivors Wait for Govt Bulldozers

1902 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Bududa survivors are angry with government for its failure to retrieve bodies of victims still buried in the mud more than three days after landslides hit Bunakasala and Bunalembwa villages in Mwalukaru parish, Bulucheke Sub County.

Bududa survivors are angry with government for its failure to retrieve bodies of victims still buried in the mud more than three days after landslides hit Bunakasala and Bunalembwa villages in Mwalukaru parish, Bulucheke Sub County.
Many of the survivors say the government has for four days not managed to send in bulldozers and forklifts which they say would have eased the recovery process.

A recovery of team comprised of the police and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has been using hoes and spades to excavate but their mission is futile with no bodies recovered so far. The recovery team numbering about one hundred had hardly covered one percent of the area to cover.
 
Some of the survivors and relatives of the dead had turned to traditional methods or something similar to witchcraft in an effort to recover the bodies. One family member claimed that one of the dead victims through a dream directed her that his body was near a jackfruit tree.
The locals, men and women armed with hoes, began own excavation exercise near a jackfruit tree hoping the dream would come to pass.

60-year-old Gabriel Buyela, who lost his son and grand children, says he has painstakingly waited to see the bodies but he is now losing patience.

//Cue in: “Because we as  Bamasaba…..
Cue Out:……and still moaning.” //

Zaina Namono, a resident of Bunakasala, one of the villages buried by landslides on Monday afternoon, says  the area where the mudslides  occurred this time around are more accessible compared to the 2010 landslides in Nametsi Sub County but government response  around is disappointing.

//Cue in: “This thing has happened now
Cue Out …………the last born of my mum.”//

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was late Wednesday at the scene of the accident and assured the residents that forklifts and bulldozers would be sent the next morning. However, none of the promised equipment had reached Bududa district by 7pm on Thursday.

Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nandala Mafabi visited the affected Bunamulembwa and Bunakasala villages and equally expressed concern about the poor government response. He urged government to declare the affected villages a disaster area if it cannot generate own resources to respond to the situation.

//Cue in: “If they had done enough …
Cue Out:…………Kampala.”//
 
On Tuesday, a day after the landslides, relief and disaster preparedness minister, Dr Stephen Malinga, announced that government was releasing a search and rescue team and equipment from the ministry of works and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to Bududa.
 
Save for the four carcasses of cows retrieved on Wednesday afternoon, the search team is yet to find victims since Tuesday, when 11 people were rescued and taken to Bududa Hospital where are still receiving treatment.
 
John Baptist Nambeshe, the Bududa Local Council Five chairperson, the actual number of people still missing is not yet established. Nambeshe had earlier put the figure at over 200, but it was later revised to 109 people. State Minister for relief and disaster preparedness, Musa Ecweru, on Wednesday asked the district chief administrative officer to use the sub county register to come up with the number of missing persons.

Bududa district is among the areas prone to landslides. In March 2010, the landslides buried an entire village in Nametse killing over 300 people. Government eventually relocated some of the survivors to Kiryandongo district after experts warned of more disaster on the slopes of Mount Elgon.
 
In August 2011, eight people were injured when a landslide struck their home in Simuyu village in Bulucheke Sub-county.

In the same month, at least 29 people died when landslides buried Bulegana and Mabono villages in Bulambuli district while in Kaabong district the slides killed at least seven and injured four others in Morulemu village, Kawolokol sub-county.