June 2, 2014

Multiple Landslides Devastate Sironko District

A string of landslides have ravaged Sironko district leaving farmers howling as several hectares of gardens are destroyed.

Sironko landslide survivor removing rubbles from his buried house
Sironko landslide survivor removing rubbles from his buried house

The multiple landslides that occurred on Saturday night affected five villages of Buwoluba, Busikyalo, Kyebuganga, Nabidoko, Bunamehe and Namayiga in the two parishes of Buwoluba and Bulujewa in Zesui Sub County. They destroyed coffee, cassava, banana, beans, onions, maize and cabbage plantations among others.

Stephen Wamokota, the Uganda Red Cross Society, Eastern Region Manager says their assessment indicates that a total of 210 households with a population of 1, 156 people were affected by the landslides. He says majority of them virtually lost all their gardens.

Stephen Mutome, one of the survivors of the landslide in Buwoluba village explains that the 10:30pm mudslides were caused by a heavy down pour that lasted for more than three hours during the day.

He explains that the mudslide covered his kitchen and a house belonging to one of his sons. No one was injured in the tragedy but more than 15 hectares of his coffee plantation, banana, onions, maize and beans have been covered by the landslides.

The landslides occurred in three different places next to each other in this village. The village has registered more than seven deep fresh cracks posing more danger. The cracks are of more than 5 meters deep of between half a kilometer and one kilometer.

Based on this, Vincent Wamboya, the Principal Disaster Management Officer in the office of the Prime Minister visited the scene and reiterated an appeal for people in areas where cracks have been identified to immediately relocate to safer areas as government finalizes its relocation program.

But although they are scared, residents in this village are reluctant to evacuate the area. They argue that that unless government provides an alternative area for resettlement they will not abandon their homes.

Fred Wachemba, another survivor from the same village asks government to expedite the resettlement program for those living in the high risky areas of the Mt. Elgon slope.

Zesui Sub County is prone to landslide. This is the fourth time the landslides are occurring within the same areas. In 1952, more than 37 people were killed and several others injured after the mudslide washed the village displacing many people.

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