News and Views

Mudslides destroy five houses

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Mudslides have struck Bugisu sub-region again destroying five houses and several acres of crops in Wanale sub-county in Mbale District.
The mudslides ripped through Bukhamoli, Bunabumali and Bunamondo villages on Wednesday night after a six-hour downpour.

Mr Geoffrey Murumba, 42, a resident of Bukhamoli Village, whose house was crashed by a rolling rock, told Daily Monitor that he was seated with his family in the living room shortly after having supper at 9pm when they had a loud noise and some thing heavy struck the roof.

“I carried my little children and we ran out only to see a big stone rolled from the hills standing on the roof of the bedroom. Actually if we had gone to sleep immediately, we would have all died,” he added.

The Wanale Sub-county LC5 councillor, Ms Kurusum Kissa said from the assessment carried out, about 57 homesteads need to be evacuated from the affected areas located at the slopes of Wanale ridge on Mt. Elgon.

“It is sad that people’s crops have been destroyed in gardens. All crops are buried under rubble. Our appeal is that people be evacuated from the slopes of Mt. Elgon to the lowlands for safety,” Ms Kissa said.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority warden in-charge of tourism, Mr Richard Matanda, said mudslides at the slopes of Mt. Elgon have become common because of the growing population which is putting pressure on the land.

He said most people living on the slopes of Mt. Elgonm, especially Wanale ridge have cut down trees on the mountain and destroyed vegetation as they search for land to cultivate and settle.

“There were all signs that there would be a mudslide here. Even now there are all signs that the mudslides will be there unless people are evacuated. Trees in this area need to be replanted fast and if the issue is not handled urgently, we foresee a repeat of the Nametsi in Bududa,” said Mr Matanda.
Dr Mary Gorretti Kitutu, the environment systems specialist at National Environment Management Authority, said: “Due to the ever increasing population people have encroached on the forest cover on the mountain for settlement and economic activities and the farming methods being practiced by residents are unfavorable for the soil,”

Past disasters
This is the third time in the recent past that mudslides are occurring in the Mt. Elgon area. In March 2010, landslides hit Nametsi village in Bududa District killing 350 people and displacing thousands, most of whom are now resettled in Kiryandongo District.

In 2011 there was another mudslide in Bulambuli that killed about 28 people. In March this year, mudslides killed six people in Sironko District and in June, there was another mudslide that buried 18 people in Bududa District.
dmafabi@ug.nationmedia.com

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