By Sarah Mazirwe – Kampala, Uganda, Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has attributed landslides and floods to people settling in river banks, wetlands and steep slopes of mountains.
Museveni said the government will be relocating them and those settled in wetlands will be compensated to leave. “These losses, on account of floods and landslides, are mainly due to the mistake of insisting on settling (living) in areas that logic and God did not intend for human habitation,” Museveni said.
Museveni said those who will be resettled need to be flexible and engage in other activities other than what they have been engaging in. “I will intensify the campaign for the Environment Resettlement fund so that those who were misled by the Government to go to the wetlands in the 1960s are compensated to get out. The recent encroachers should simply get out. Condolences, again,” Museveni said.
About 60 people are feared to have died after landslides swept through villages in the Bugisu sub-region in the Eastern part of Uganda. The landslides happened on, Tuesday, December 4, 2019, in Bududa and Sironko Districts.
At least 14 bodies have been retrieved from three sub-counties of Bushika, Zesui, and Bunabutiti in Bududa district. The locals predict that 60 people within their locality are feared to have died while 500 families have been displaced and have found refuge in churches and schools. A lot of properties like gardens, crops, and animals have been destroyed. The landslides are a result of rain that has been thrashing the sub-region.
The Bududa District chairperson, Wilson Watira, has called upon the government to relocate the affected people to safer places. “The displaced people should stay in schools, churches, and trading centres as they wait for help,” Watira said.
In Sironko district, more than eight people are also feared dead while about 1,000 others have been displaced with some seeking refuge at Bugimagu Primary school. The affected residents are surviving on porridge, National Telegraph has confirmed.
Also in the Western part of Uganda in Bundibugyo District, December 7, 2019, the district was hit by landslides. According to the Uganda police, 17 bodies by press time were retrieved.
The victims were residents in Busaru, Harugale, Nalulu, Ntotoro, Kirimi, and Humya sub-counties. Lydia Tumushabe, the Rwenzori West regional police spokesperson says that the bodies have been handed over to the relatives for burial.
Vincent Muhindo, of the Uganda Red Cross Society Bundibugyo branch, said Humya and Buhundu are faced with an acute water shortage because the streams have been contaminated and at least 700 families lost houses and crops.
Landslides are not a new tragedy since 2010 at least every year the government of Uganda through the office of the Prime Minister resettled displaced people from the Bugisu region over landslides.
In 2010, the government resettled 4800 Bududa survivors of the 2010 landslides to Kiryadongo Refugee settlement in the mid-Western part of the country which has since increased to 10,300 according to Mary Karooro Okurut, the Minister for General Duties, Office of the Prime Minister.
On June 3, 2012, a landslide occurred in Bumasifa in the Sironko district destroying 7 houses and killed two people.