Sironko Landslide Survivors Ask For Relocation

2127 Views Sironko, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
More than 1, 000 people who survived the recent landslides in Sironko district are pleading with government to relocate them to safer areas.

More than 1, 000 people who survived the recent landslides in Sironko district are pleading with government to relocate them to safer areas.

The victims claim that government has failed in its responsibility to guarantee the safety of their lives and property by failing to relocate those in the landslide prone areas of Mt Elgon despite several pleas.

Unlike some residents living in other areas around the slopes of Mt Elgon who refused voluntary evacuation by government, these people are demanding for faster intervention by government.

Led by Robert Wangiro, the Bugimwera village local council chairperson in Bumasifa Sub County where the Sunday’s landslide killed two people, the locals are demanding that government identifies some safer areas in Bugisu sub region where they can be relocated.

Rogers Madaya, one of the survivors, says the current situation is like a time bomb just waiting to explode. He fears more deadly serious landslide ahead following the heavy rains and what he calls growing cracks throughout the areas around the mountain slopes. He says some of the cracks are now about 40 centimeters deep.

He says unlike their colleagues in other areas, they are ready to leave as soon as the government provides them a safer area, transport and relief assistance.

//Cue in: “We are very ready…
Cue out: …have to leave this place.”//

Peter Webulo, another survivor, asked government to consider using forceful means against those hesitant to leave the area so as lives are saved.

//Cue in: “Persons here have to go….
Cue out: ….may go somewhere else.”//

James Nabende, the Sironko district LC 5 chairperson, advices the survivors to relocate to their relatives and friends in safer areas like in Mawapa and Nakiwombe as government plans for a permanent relocation.

He says leaders in the Eastern region are pushing government hard to provide a budget to ensure all those living in the landslide prone areas of Mt. Elgon are relocated.

//Cue in: “We are also advising…
Cue out: …settle these people.”//

Musa Ecweru, the state minister for disaster preparedness, says government plans to relocate the victims to Kiryandongo and Kyankwanzi districts. He, however, did not mention when exactly the relocation exercise will start.

Two people were confirmed killed and several others displaced in the Sunday’s landslides in Sironko.

More than 30, 000 people are believed to be living in areas of Mt. Elgon which are prone to landslides.

Recently, government earmarked about 60 billion shillings to relocate these people after the mudslides buried more than 355 people in Bududa district in March 2010. In September 2011, another landslide hit Bulambuli district killing 32 people.


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.