Following the mudslides that occurred in Shamwiyi village in Bulucheke Sub County in Bududa district that seriously injured six people last week, residents there have appealed to government to find an alternative land to relocate them for safety of being swept away given the eminent sign of a possible landslide in the area.
The appeal was made by the area local Council II chairperson of SakuSaku parish Mr. John Mushalaka August 11 saying about 300 households from four affected villages of Shamwiyi, Wanzeketse, Shinyenye and Shiwowo are at a risk of being swept by mudslide and that residents are in dare need of relocation.
He added that although these residents are willing to relocate, they do not have an alternative land to relocate to given the fact that where they live and cultivate from is their only ancestral land they posses thus the need for government intervention to save their plight.
“All of us here are willing to relocate to a safer land if government can provide it for us. At the moment we do not have anywhere to relocate to yet we are living in fear everyday there is torrential rainfall because there are eminent signs of possible reoccurrence of mudslides which puts us at risk of death,” said Mr. Mushalaka.
According to the district’s production officer Mr. Simon Wadada, the topography of the area stands at an altitude of over 80 degrees centigrade which is too steep for human habitation and cultivation saying the 300 households estimated to accommodate about 21, 000 people are all at a high risk of a possible mudslide if the torrential rains persisted now and in the future.
He explained that the rise in population around the slopes of Mt. Elgon led to encroachment on forest reserve land for cultivation which involved clearing of soil reservation vegetation thus weakening the soils saying it’s this situation that poses a danger to any human life living there.
“Any topography above 60 degrees centigrade is considered inhabitable therefore living at an altitude of over 80 degrees like for the parish of SakuSaku puts the residents there at a risk therefore government should respond to their call and relocate them,” said Mr. Wadada.
The chief administrative officer Mr. Vitalis Oswan told Daily Monitor that his office has contacted the ministry of relief and disaster preparedness in response to the residents call and that they are yet to receive a feed back on the same.
He said, “We have tabled the residents’ concerns to the office of the prime minister and we believe the ministry of relief and disaster preparedness is going to respond soon. We are also working hand in hand with Red Cross to see how to assist the victims,” Mr. Oswan said.
When contacted on phone, the state minister for relief and disaster preparedness Mr. Musa Ecweru said his office is trying to ascertain the number of those living in very risky areas so government can budget for their relocation.
Mr. Ecweru explained that he has instructed local leaders to meanwhile persuade them to live the risky areas and seek alternative residence with their relatives living on habitable land as government formalizes plans to find land for their relocation.
“Obviously we must relocate them but it is not going to take immediate effect. The local leaders have already been dispatched to this area to find immediate solutions like persuading the affected people to live the risky land and seek refugee with their relatives as government finds alternative land for their relocation,” Mr. Ecweru said.