Elgon locals to relocate ahead of heavy rains
Posted Wednesday, February 6 2013 at 02:00
Environment officials warn that the the 40-kilometre crack on Mt. Elgon is widening thus calling for relocation of residents.
The government has re-started mapping Mt. Elgon to find out the number of residents staying in areas prone to mudslides so that they can be relocated ahead of heavy rains next month.
A team from Works, Lands, Internal Affairs, Trade, Local Government ministries and officials from the Prime Minister’s office want residents relocated to camps before they are moved permanently to urban centres.
Mr Vincent Woboya, the head of Bulambuli team, said they were conducting a three-week-long mapping in Bulambuli, Bududa, Manafwa and Sironko districts before moving to Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween for immediate relocation.
“We have so far registered 8,000 people from Bulambuli hilly areas prone to mudslides. These will be relocated immediately to avoid mudslide incidents such as those in Sisiyi, Nametsi and Bumwalukani where many lives were lost,” Mr Woboya said yesterday.
However, more than 400,000 residents in the areas have remained adamant, arguing that the cracks seen by Uganda Wildlife Authority are a scapegoat for them to be evicted from their cradle land.
The OPM, which has already carried out an assessment on the mountain and its surrounding ridges, including the 40 kilometre crack, however, insists that the locals be moved.
“We may not see the weakening of the soil in the area but the crack speaks volumes about an impending mudslide. There is no other option but to have people in the landslide risk areas relocated,” Dr Stephen Mallinga, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness, said last year.
Mt. Elgon conservation area manager Adonia Bintorwa said the crack has now deepened to 30 centimetres and stretches through Mukoto, Tsekululu, Buwabwala, Bukhabusi, Bupoto, Namabya, Bumbo and Bukokho sub-counties and to Bududa, Mbale, Sironko, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts.