On June 25, two villages of Bunakasala and Bunamulembwa were buried when a part of the hill in Bududa district gave way in an afternoon downpour. Fifteen houses were buried and 8 people are now confirmed to have been killed by the landslide in the eastern district, which lies on the slopes of Mt.Elgon. The number could have been bigger had it not been a market day in the parish.
Almost two weeks later I visited the landslide scene with a colleague from the UgandaSpeaks project. We had gone to deliver relief items collected through organizing Ugandans on Twitter via #TweepsHelpBududa to help survivors of the landslides.
We took a van, which was generously availed by Aramex, full of clothes and blankets, basins and other things which Ugandans mostly in Kampala had brought together.
On Friday July 6, Javie Ssozi and I made it to Bududa. We made a call at the district headquarters to register our presence and items. Minutes after, we headed to Bududa on a bumpy non-tarmacked road.
At the site, we met the team from Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Red Cross. Excavators continued to plough deep into the hilltop in hope of recovering the 4 remaining bodies. It is believed it is a woman and her 3 children still buried deep in the soil. The faces at the site are some of those that cant easily leave your head. A husband watching waiting to see if this will be the day they find his dead children and wife, an elderly woman whose house narrowly escaped – by few inches- the path of the land moving landmass, a young woman who literally ran out of harms way but her young son couldn’t make it.
Survivors come to the Red Cross tent for counseling and treatment where need be and the rest of people sit visibly worried because they know this is not the first or the last they will face this. We made sure we handed over blankets especially to women survivors who have young children. We left the rest for Red Cross and a couple of volunteers to hand over.
At the site I met with a gentleman from OPM who discussed the issues that many out here have been into since the landslide. He says they cannot forcibly evict or resettle people for there’s no such a law that gives them the powers. He however said many people have expressed willingness to leave the hills and be resettled.
Continue reading “When mountains moved”