At least 1,000 people have been killed by landslides over the past 10 years and out of such deaths, 70 percent were registered in Bududa District, which sits on the slope of Mount Elgon.The Eastern region is worst hit by climate change, explained by the experts.
Mr Jackson Muhindo, the resilience and climate change coordinator at Oxfam Uganda, said every year, they receive more alerts of floods, landslides and prolonged dry spells from the east than they get from other parts of the country.
Mr Mhindo cited the August floods in Mbale that claimed 29 lives, the drought in Karamoja and Teso, as well as Mt Elgon’s landslides that have become an annual occurrence.
“Bugisu, Teso and Karamoja sub-regions have been hit hardest by disasters. Houses have collapsed and crops have been affected,” he said in an interview on Monday.
Mr Muhindo said such climate-related disasters have strained government and developmental partners in terms of funds to rebuild and responding to the immediate needs of affected residents.
He explained that Karamoja has been hit hard by prolonged dry spells that have affected the planting seasons, leading to hunger.
He said the climate crisis is affecting more developing countries such as Uganda, which are less responsible for the world’s carbon emissions that have caused climate change.
“The largest carbon emitters responsible for the current climate crisis should accept responsibility and increase their contributions to adaptation and mitigation,” he said.
Mr Muhindo’s remarks come on the backdrop of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) that is taking place in Egypt where developing countries are tasking developed ones, which are the biggest pollution emitters, to pay the former for the climate change effects.
Between May and July, famine hit many parts of Teso and Karamoja, leading to deaths before government sent a consignment of food.
Mr Moses Mbogo, an environmental expert, said environment and natural resources in the eastern region are under threat from both natural and manmade drivers of change.
“We are worried that minimum attention to climate change even after the 2021 COP26 – could yield more disaster world over,” Mr Mbogo said.
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority has warned that the country’s cattle corridor is expected to become water-stressed.
The Butaleja District senior environment officer, Ms Lamula Were, blamed climate change effects on wetland degradation.
“In such areas, soil erosion is increasing, landslides, soil infertility, while agrochemical pollution, desertification as well as floods are on the rise,” she said.
The Pallisa District natural resources officer, Mr Muhammad Samuka, said they are strengthening climate change education.
Mr David Omoding, a farmer from Kaparis Village in Bukedea District, said he has not had any good harvest from his six-acre piece of land in the past five years. He blamed it on continued floods and drought.