Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) on 17th October launched an appeal to the general public to raise 1.2 Billion shillings to support victims of the Bududa landslides and other neighboring districts that might be at risk. This is expected to benefit over 5000 people in the disaster prone districts of the Elgon region; Bududa, Namisindwa, Butalejja, and Manafwa. These battle with effects of climate change almost every year and there is urgent need to prepare for more disasters.
Launching the appeal yesterday at URCS headquarters in Rubaga, the Secretary General Mr. Robert Kwesiga appreciated the government and everyone else who has already tried to help, but emphasized that there is more that still needs to be done “When such disasters happen in Uganda, we as Uganda Red Cross always call upon Ugandans and none Ugandans leaving in Uganda to stand with and support their brothers and sisters without entirely relying on the government. There is no amount of support that is enough, there is always more to be done especially for long term preparations for such occurrences” he said.
According to information from the Uganda National Meteorological authority, heavy rains are still expected in the eastern part of Uganda. This means these districts are still highly exposed to heavier disasters including floods, mudslides, and disease outbreaks. Support raised from this appeal will help Red Cross prepare communities and take on urgent emergency preparedness and response plans to save lives of people.
On disease outbreaks, Kwesiga emphasized that during such emergencies, diseases like cholera are most likely, given the quality of water and the general sanitation “Currently, people are drinking unsafe water, there are no sanitation facilities like latrines, so waste disposal is as bad as you can imagine. There is need for psychosocial support and massive hygiene promotion” he said
The appeal will support families with emergency relief non-food items, temporary shelter for displaced people, health and life saving interventions, hygiene promotion, access to safe and clean water, early warning sensitizations for communities on climate change and potential disease outbreaks, training of more disaster response volunteers, offering pyscho-social support, among other immediate needs.
Uganda Red Cross also pledged to work closely with government during the anticipated relocation of families. Over 900 households are set to be moved to Bulambuli and government has already availed 32 Billion shillings for the relocation. According to Kwesiga, people can’t move with nothing, they have lost everything and need a new start with basic needs and the appeal will seek to raise some of these
“What do we do for those people who lost everything? When you lose a house, all that is within goes with it, clothes, household items and other basic needs. This is the main challenge we are trying to approach as people undergo relocation.” He indicated that any kind of support is welcome whether in kind or financial. Relief items can be delivered at any Red Cross offices across the country and financial assistance will be received on official Red Cross mobile money platforms and the organization’s bank account.
On October 11th, River Suume in Bukalasi Sub County burst its banks causing a massive landslide that buried over 139 households and killed 43 people. About 700 people were affected. 16 are still missing after one week and recue and search teams are still digging the mud in efforts to save them.