By Sandra Birungi
About 400, 000 people are going to be relocated by government away from the slopes of Mt. Elgon that has become prone to landslides whenever the rain season comes about.
This follows landslides that have now caused 30 confirmed deaths in Bududa district. Despite the danger at the mountain slope, the locals do not want to leave as yet saying the land where they were previously told to relocate was not as fertile as that of Bududa. Now government is to take an estimated 6 months trying to convince the people to be relocated after losing their families to the landslides.
Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Stephen Malinga said the government will have to pass a law restricting people from staying on Mt. Elgon to stop tragedies. “We shall pass a law to have these people relocated and after the mountain has been rehabilitated and no longer at risk of landslides those who want can go back to their land.” Malinga, said.
“We had begun to relocate these people, and successfully relocated 3000, but the leaders in the area made it impossible for more people to be relocated as they claimed that government wanted to steal their land,” he added.
According to the Assistant Commissioner Disaster Management in the disaster ministry, Rose Bwenvu, warning signs of the Monday tragedy were heard as early as Sunday, but it was taken lightly. “During the night of 24th June, the population could hear the creeping sounds and the cracks forming but people took it lightly and did not inform the authorities.” Rose Bwenvu, Assistant Commissioner Disaster Management says.
More districts are at risk of experiencing the landslides among which are the seven Mt. Elgon districts, Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kasese, and Kyenjojo, which are around Mountain Rwenzori, as well as Kisoro, Kabale, Kanungu, Ntungamo and Rukungiri.