Mudslides: Let government speed up relocation

Friday December 6 2019

Residents of Bufutsa Parish in Bushika

Residents of Bufutsa Parish in Bushika Sub-county use hoes to dig through the rubble and mud in search of remains of those believed to have been buried by landslides that hit Bududa District on Tuesday. More than 50 people are reported dead while several are still missing. PHOTO BY LEONARD MUKOOLI 

By Editor

The ongoing rain pounding different parts of the country has so far left many lives lost, several people displaced and properties destroyed.
For instance, three bodies were recovered and dozens feared dead in Zesui and Masaba sub-counties in Sironko District after landslides swept through several villages on Tuesday, following a downpour.
The Daily Monitor of Wednesday, December 4, reported that in Bududa District in eastern Uganda alone, more than 30 houses were destroyed and more than 20 people feared dead following mudslides that devastated the villages of Namasa and Naposhi in Bushika Sub-county and Naroko village in Bunabutiti, a newly created sub-county.

However, Bugisu Sub-region is not alone. In Bundibugyo District, more than 4,000 people last month by mudslides following torrential rain in the sub-region that started last month. This has also paralysed transport in the affected areas with bridges and roads washed away.
In Bigisu Sub-region and Bundibugyo District, local leaders have advised that relocating residents from mudsalide-prone areas to safer places should be the best solution. However, the leaders say they lack the required resources to carry out the relocation process, hence need for urgent government intervention.

Ironically, while President Museveni was on Wednesday leading an anti-corruption walk in the capital Kampala captured national attention, residents in Busgisu were counting bodies of relatives and searching for missing ones without national intervention. The call for emergency government response is even more crucial now that residents fear that the worst could happen given the continuing downpour.
On November 10, the commissioner for disaster preparedness in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Mr Martin Owor, said the second phase of relocation of landslide victims in Bugisu would start in two weeks. However, this is yet to happen.

Although local leaders in Bugisu warned last month that residents needed to be moved as soon as possible, government said it still needed some time to complete construction of house in the relocation resettlement area in Bunambutye. With such delays, we are likely to lose more lives.
The government should, as a matter of urgency, come to the rescue of the mudslide victims in Bududa District. Many of these people need to be relocated to safer areas pending relocation amid projections of more torrential rain.