Tuesday June 3 2014

Mudslides bury 200 Sironko homes

Residents of Zesui Sub-county look at their houses which

Residents of Zesui Sub-county look at their houses which were buried by mudslides in Sironko District at the weekend. PHOTO BY DAVID MAFABI 

By Yahudu Kitunzi

SIRONKO- At least 210 families from four villages in Sironko District are homeless after mudslides triggered by heavy rains buried their houses.

The Resident District Commissioner, Mr Mubarak Magomu, said rain started on Thursday afternoon and continued till Saturday, creating a large mass of mud that destroyed coffee, beans, bananas, maize and sorghum gardens.

Affected are Kyebugunga, Busikyayo, Buwoluba and Nalufumbo villages in Zesui Sub-county.
Mr Magomu added that since rain continues to pound the area, they cannot rule out heavy mudslides that could bury more villages.

“Huge cracks have been spotted in the mountain (Elgon), meaning our people are living in danger. As government looks for money to relocate them, I call upon those living in areas where the crack has been spotted to vacate to safer areas,” he said.

Mr Stephen Wasyeba, the headmaster of Nabweya Primary School, who is also a victim of the disaster, told the Daily Monitor that his family of 22 has nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.

“I have nothing to feed my family. I have lost all my belongings; crops and houses. I fear that my family members may contract water borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery due to lack of safe water,” he said.

The Mt Elgon conservation area manager, Dr Adonia Bintora, said his office, with assistance from the Red Cross, have started registering the affected families to devise means of providing them with shelter and food as they plan to relocate them to safer areas. He also blamed the increasing landslides in the Mt Elgon region on poor farming methods that have seen the vegetation cover destroyed, leading to the weakening of the soils.

“People in the Mt Elgon area have constructed houses on the slopes of the mountain. They have also destroyed the topography of the area leaving them at risk of being swept in the possible mudslide. We have asked them to vacate this area but they have remained adamant about our call,” Dr Bintora said.

Latest disasters
Kasese- In 2013, floods killed at least 10 people and displaced more than 20,000 after River Nyamwamba burst its banks.

Kaboong- In 2011, 11 people were killed and scores injured by mudslides.
Bulambuli- In 2011 in Bunambutye Sub-county, the floods displaced 24 families and destroyed Sironko-Bulambuli-Nakapiripirit- Moroto road, cutting off Karamoja sub-region.
Bududa. In 2010, a landslide triggered by heavy rain buried more than 100 people.