Host families throw out landslide victims

Wednesday January 29 2020

Struggle. Some of the landslide victims sort

Struggle. Some of the landslide victims sort beans to prepare a lunch at the camp in Nangako Town Council, Bududa District at the weekend. PHOTO BY LOENARD MUKOOLI 

By LEONARD MUKOOLI

At least 120 landslide victims’ families in Bushika Sub-county in Bududa District are stranded after they were ordered by their host families to leave and seek shelter elsewhere due to lack of food.

The victims were part of the 300 families that were displaced by the multiple landslides, which occurred on December 3, 2019 in the villages of Namasa, Shikhururwe and Naposhi.

District officials say about 47 people died in the landslide, where 26 bodies were retrieved and 21 are still missing. The government called off the search last year and declared the affected area, a mass grave.

When Daily Monitor visited the area on Sunday, we found some of the victims, who had been forced out by the host families, establishing a temporary camp in Luwambi Cell in Nangako Town Council.

Some had put up temporally shelters made of tarpaulins, with each accommodating 12 people on average. They were sleeping on banana fibers and leaves.

Mr Constant Mupuya, the chairperson of Shikhururwe Village, said: “The host families opted to send them away from their homes because they were constrained and they could not cater for their needs.”

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“They sought they were giving them help for a short time as government plans to relocation,” Mr Mupuya added.

In November 11, 2019, government announced plans to resettle about 140 families living in landslides prone area in the second phase but the exercise is yet to start.

In the first phase, 101 houses were constructed and about 720 people were relocated.
Mr Mupuya, however, said the situation at the camp, where the victims are staying is deplorable since they have no clean water, food and beddings.
“They even have no latrines and they have resorted to using nearby bushes and gardens as places of convenience,” he said.

Ms Base Nameye, one of the residents and a single mother of four, who has been hosting about 15 victims, said: “I took in the victims thinking government will offer relief support and also plan to resettle them but it is coming to two months, there is no hope.”
Mr Daniel Namisi, one of the victims, said government should come to their rescue.

“We are stranded. The government should intervene and relocate us to a safer place,” he said.
However, the LC5 chairperson of Bududa District, Mr Wilson Watira, said they were not aware of either victims being chased away by their host families or the establishment of a temporary camp.

“As the district leadership, we are not aware of any camp and whoever has created one should bear the responsibility. We have felt the dangers that come along with camps. We discourage them,” Mr Watira said.
He, however, appealed to the victims to continue seeking refuge from relatives as government implements the resettlement plan.

Resettlement crisis

Mr Julius Mucuguzi, the spokesperson at the Office of the Prime Minister, recently said they have been constrained by inadequate funds.

“If the resource were in abundance, we would have more houses than we currently have but in one year, government has been able to build 240 houses and these are meant for 240 families with more than 1,000 people,” he said.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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