100 stranded as landslides hit Kasese

Wednesday June 12 2019

Destruction. Residents reconstruct a house that

Destruction. Residents reconstruct a house that was damaged by landslides in Burandia Village in Mahango Sub-county, Kasese District, on Monday. PHOTO BY Joel Kaguta 


Landslides have left more than 100 people in Mahango Sub-county, Kasese District, stranded following a downpour on Monday.
The authorities say no fatalities were registered but Burandia, Kibalya, Butalimuli and Nyamutswa villages were the most affected.
The landslides destroyed houses, crops, household items and killed livestock.
Ms Bibiana Ithungu, 38, one of the affected residents, said three of her children escaped death because by the time the landslides hit their room, she had shifted them.
“When I saw water entering my bedroom, I realised that my children were in danger and I immediately shifted them to my bed. After a few minutes, their bedroom was hit by a huge mudflow,” she said.
Ms Luzi Masika, another resident, said she lost 50 coffee trees and two acres of banana plantations.
Mr Patrick Masereka Zaire, the Burandia village chairperson, said he had started compiling a report to ascertain the actual number of people and property destroyed so as to get assistance.
Mr Masereka said he would educate the community about building their houses in safe areas.
Mr Venesio Tsembere, the sub-county community development officer, asked the district disaster preparedness committee to relocate the affected families.
“This area has witnessed a number of disasters, I think something should be done to relocate those staying in landslide-prone areas to safe areas,” Mr Tsembere said.
Mr Jeconious Musingwiire, the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) public awareness officer for western Uganda, said there is need to properly manage the water catchment areas on hill slopes.
“We need interventions with locals through creating earth bans, stone bans and water retention ditches on the hill slopes to curb such incidents as we move towards restoration of the areas,” Mr Musingwiire said.
“When you don’t apply a multi-sectoral approach, even if you police the area and let it to self-rejuvenate, people will set bush fires and erosion will reoccur, so a bottom-up planning is very critical, government should do co-management with the community in all interventions,” he added.

Past incidents

Between 2012 and 2013, seven children from two families in Butalimuli and Mahango villages respectively in Mahango Sub-county were buried by landslides. In October 2011, five members of the same family perished following a landslide that struck their house in Mahango.