Story By Noah Omuya
Hope for shelter has been restored for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) of Bududa district, in Eastern Uganda who were affected by heavy rains which resulted to mudslides in October 11th, 2018.
On March 27th, 2019, the government of Uganda through the Office of the Prime Minister announced that construction of more than 100 houses meant for relocation of Bududa Landslide victims had been completed.
According to the news posted on the official website for the Office of the Prime Minister, the two- bed- roomed houses which are the first phase of up to a tune of 900 houses, are already fully roofed with all doors and windows fixed, and engineers are now in the final touches of building.
Capt. Martin Candia, the Site foreman from the UPDF Engineering Breegade, who is heading the construction of houses, said that the houses will be handed over to government very soon and ready for distribution to beneficiaries.
The head of communications at OPM, Mr Julius Mucunguzi says that government has not yet proposed a date for the official handover of the first batch of completed houses to the beneficiaries.
He further reveals that each house occupies an acre of lands and government has allocated extra two acres of land to each household for crop and animal farming.
“In addition to that, government is going to provide social infrastructure and services including health centers, schools, water, roads and electricity to the community.
The resettlement of the affected persons is being set up in a comprehensive permanent basis in Bunambutye Sub County, Bududa district.
History tells that Bududa district is generally rainy zone with up to eight out of twelve months of the year typically wet. On October 11th, 2018, the Sub Counties of Bukalasi, Buwali, Bubiita, and Nalwanga experienced a prolonged afternoon drizzle which was easily ignored by residents who were used to heavier rains, little they know that it was a simple pour of doom.
Wilson Wotira, the LC 5 Chairman of Bududa district, who is also the spokesperson disaster committee in the district council, recalls that the seasonal River Tsuume whose source is in Mt. Elgon National Park flooded, unleashing a torrent of rocks and mud that ravaged schools, homes, shops including a trading centre called Malandu-Naposhi and left hundreds from the villages of Tsuume, Nnayinza, Namakira, Nyekhr, Malanda, Shishambwa, Nanyenga, and Bunamwamba homeless, several injured and 60 people dead.
This is not the first time residents from Bududa have suffered the landslide disaster. In 2010, it is believed that at least 100 people were killed in a tragic landslide incident. Until now, about 300 people have remained missing and are presumed dead.
This left more than 85 homes buried in the mud, and more houses, markets, schools and a church destroyed. Officials and aid workers warned that there would soon be another landslide, which took 7 years to occur while community occupants were unaware.
According to the New Vision (17th October 2018), Prior to the tragic event, a 10-year resettlement project for 100,000 people was conceived and it was supposed to be implemented in a phased style, with about 10,000 people moved from the landslide prone places to safer locations each year. The relocation exercise would cost sh8b each year and sh80b in 10 years.
On 8th October, 2018, cabinet approved a sh8b request by the relief, disaster preparedness and refugees minister Hilary Onek to fund an emergency response to victims of the landslides in Bududa district.
Currently, the OPM works alongside other line Ministries to implement the relocation project, and these include; Ministry of Water and Environment, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Health, Ministry of education and Ministry of Internal Affairs. Engineers from the UPDF and Police Engineering Brigades were contracted to take charge of the site constructions.