Fears of Landslides As Heavy Rains Pound Elgon Region

3884 Views Bududa, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Leaders and residents from the landslide prone Elgon region have expressed fear over the recent rains in the region.

Leaders and residents from the landslide prone Elgon region have expressed fear over the recent rains in the region.

John Baptist Nambese, the Bududa District LC V chairman is particularly worried that the rains, which have persisted in the area for the past few weeks, may loosen the soil texture and trigger another landslide.

Nambese says as leaders and residents of the area, they are concern that government has failed to expedite its earlier promises of relocating people affected by landslides especially in Bududa, Bulambuli, Manafwa and Sironko districts.

He says should government neglect the early warning, she should be entirely blamed for any eventuality that may cause loss of lives and destruction of people’s property.

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Nambese notes that government failed to consider their early warnings to relocate those living in areas considered landslide prone leading to deaths of innocent people in the previous landslides that occurred in Nametsi and Bulucheke sub counties last year.

The Local Council 5 chairman is also worried that government may not be in position to provide the 24 billion shillings it recently approved through the Office of the Prime Minister for the relocation exercise citing the recent embezzlement and corruption scam that has hit the office.

Vincent Woboya, an official from the Office of the Prime Minister has however told Uganda Radio Network that government has started mapping Mt. Elgon area to get the number of people in the landslide prone areas so that they can be relocated ahead of heavy rains expected next month.

He says they have been conducting mapping exercises in Bududa, Manafwa, Bulambuli, Sironko, Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween districts for immediate relocation. He says from Bulambuli district alone they registered more than 9,000 people in the hilly areas that are prone to mudslides.

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Hundred people in Bulucheke sub county in Bududa district who were displaced by the recent landslides have fled back to their villages which are considered highly risky. The victims cite negligence by government as the reason for their return.

John Wamalwa, a resident of Bunakasala village, the centre of the June 2012 landslides, was relocated to Bunamuvi trading centre after the incident. On June 25 2012, landslides buried Bunakasala and Bunalembwa villages in Mwalukaru parish, Bulucheke Sub County in Bududa district killing eight people and injuring several others. This came just two years after another landslide in March 2010 killed more than 300 people in Nametsi village in Bududa.

Wamalwa however says several months after the Office of the Prime Minister promised to send them more relief food items; no government official has visited the area.

He says in Bunamuvi where majority of them were relocated, there is no clean water source, latrines and food, the reason many of them decided to go back to their home villages.

Wamalwa says they are aware of the risks but they have nothing to do about it.

Phoebe Lubango, the councilor for Bulucheke Sub County warns of another serious mudslide and appeals to government to intervene immediately to stop people from accessing these areas.

Lubango insists that the recent rains that have pounded Bugisu sub region pose serious risks of another landslide arguing that in some areas water was gushing out of the once dry ground, implying that rain water has penetrated the soils.


About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.