Government is considering setting up satellite villages to resettle people living on the steep slopes of Mt Elgon.
This proposition, tailored to mitigate the impact of frequent mudslides in the Elgon zone, was on Wednesday disclosed by Premier Amama Mbabazi. The prime minister was in Bududa to represented President Museveni, after the Monday mudslide that left a trail of devastation in the district.
He said people could be resettled in "urban villages" in nearby areas where they still have access to their land for cultivation, if no alternative fertile land could be found for them.
Bob Mushikori, a Canadian of Ugandan origin, welcomed the move, saying in most developed countries like the Scandinavian countries where there is scarcity of land; government has set up satellite villages where people have settled. This, Mushikori added, leaves vast land for food production.
The plan to set up satellite villages varies from government's approach in the aftermath of the 2010 Namesti mudslide when survivors were relocated to Kiryandongo. Most of the 2010 survivors returned to Bududa because the conditions in Kiryandongo were harsh. James Kitsatsa is one such a returnee. He told The Observer that in Kiryandongo, the displaced people were bullied by Balaalo (cattle keepers) whose herds grazed on their farms.
"I decided to return home and I cannot go anywhere even when it means perishing in the mudslide because I am not used to living under harsh conditions," Kitsatsa said.
Meanwhile, the first consignment of relief items consisting food, domestic utensils and medicine were delivered to the victims by the Red Cross on Wednesday afternoon. About 112 households received 10kg and 6kg of maize flour and beans apiece. Eastern region police commander Michael Mugabi announced that about 18 people had been confirmed dead while a further 182 others were missing.