By Hanning Mbabazi
Bududa: The Office of the Prime Minister through the minister of state for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru has revealed that victims of Bududa mudslides will be resettled in areas they choose.
While visiting Bududa over the weekend Ecweru announced the new resettlement plan for the Bududa Landslide victims, which will be different from the earlier plan of government buying land on which to resettle these people. Minister Ecweru said that “Survivors will be evacuated to a temporal evacuation centre as government looks for funds to facilitate them to attain land and get resettled in places of their choice within the region as a way of speeding up the resettlement process.” Ecweru added that “This is aimed at breaking the barriers associated with construction of houses.” The latest landslide comes a few months after government had started resettling the first batch of the survivors of the October 11, 2018 landslides in the same area and other places in Bugisu sub-region, to Bulambuli resettlement.
In the first phase, 101 houses have been built in Bulambuli out of a planned 900 houses. In total, over 100,000 people living precariously on the slopes of Mount Elgon are estimated to be in great danger and requiring relocation. The second phase of construction of 140 houses is underway. Some of the victims had started rebuilding their houses, which had been partially washed away by floods after the river burst its banks. Others were erecting new houses at the site, deemed a landslide-prone area. At Suume Junior Academy, which lost a pupil, the administration had also rebuilt the classroom structures. Ms Sylvia Seera, another victim, said they are hesitant to relocate because they fear to be tormented by the indigenous locals in the new places.
“The Kiryandongo experience was like hell to us. We suffered a lot but government did not give us much attention,” she said. Ms Mary Nabukobero, another victim, says they are willing relocate but they should be taken to safe and fertile places where they can carry out agriculture. “If the government cannot find such places, let them give us money and we relocate ourselves to safe places of our choice,” he said. Vincent Masanga, 60, a resident of Suume village, said although the government is slow in its approach to relocate the victims, the victims are partly to blame. “The victims who were displaced during the previous landslides had returned and reconstructed their houses in same dangerous places,” he said. However, some survivors of the Tuesday landslide, who have now sought refuge in churches, schools and trading centres, said they are in dire need of relocation. They said they are willing to be relocated to Bunambutye Sub County as soon as possible to start a new life.