Landslides bury 30 houses, over 200 displaced in Manafwa

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MANAFWA. Fresh landslides triggered by incessant rainfall in the Mt Elgon region have buried at least 30 houses and displaced over 200 residents in different Sub- Counties in Manafwa District.

The multiple landslides occurred on Wednesday evening following heavy rains that started at 9 am in the morning, leaving 5 villages of Bunashirewe, Buwafula, Bunamungoma A, Bunamungoma B and Soobi in the Sub counties of Kaato, Bunabutsale and Weswa sub counties in Bubulo West County, affected.

Mr Stephen Nawangala, one of the affected residents and a village chairperson of Bunashirwe village, said the disaster left houses, several acres of gardens, and livestock destroyed.

“By the time the incident happened most of the people had left their homes and gone to work in their gardens in the evening and children were out planning in their neighbourhoods,” Mr Nawangala said while pointing at debris of his former house.

He added that affected residents have fled their homes to safer areas as they wait for government’s intervention.

Ms Beatrice Buyaka, another survivor, whose house was destroyed, said she has been rendered homeless.

“Our house and other household property have been destroyed including food and clothes. We are finding it hard to live now yet we have a big family with young children,” she said.

Mr John Masagha, one of the affected residents appealed to government to intervene after the latest calamity that has also damaged community roads.

“We have been tremendously affected but our leaders have not intervened yet, which disturbs us so much,” he said.

Mr Charles Otai, the administrative officer Manafwa district said they are carrying out the assessment to establish the number of people affected by the calamity.

“The disaster preparedness committee does not have the resources to help the affected people but after assessing the situation, we will write to the Office of Prime Minister for support,” he said.

The LCV chairperson Mr John Musila, said the district leadership is carrying out an audit to establish if there were lives lost.

Mr Musila, however, urged affected residents to seek refuge in safer places including nearby churches, schools and trading centers as they wait for government help.

“We have advised the residents for now to relocate to the neighboring schools and churches for safety of their lives,” Mr Musila.

He added that government should come up with an immediate relief aid initiative to help the affected residents.

He also demanded that government considers relocating people who are living in the risky areas to safer places within the region.

The government acquired about 2800 acres of land in Bunambutye Sub County, Bulambuli District to resettle people living in landslide prone areas in Bududa in 2003, but no further step has been taken to relocate the residents.

The Member of Parliament for Bunghokho south constituency in Mbale District, Mr Gershom Sizomu Wambedde who also doubles as shadow minster for disaster, said the number of people at risk in the region is high.

“During this rainy season, Bugisu is a vulnerable sub region with disasters and it’s our appeal to our people to move to safer places before they are caught unaware,” he said.