New Vision (Kampala)

19 July 2012

Uganda: 12 Survive Landslides in Mbale

A family of twelve people survived death when a huge boulder rolled down the mountain and hit the house in which they slept in Bukhamoli Village A of Wanale sub-county in Mbale district.

Geoffrey Mafabi, 40, his wife Mary Kakayi, 36, and their children aged between two and 20 years had retired to bed, on Wednesday, after dinner when the rock hit their house at about 9.00pm. Torrential rains had pounded the hilly terrain the entire day.

"This is the third time my house is hit, the first was during the 1997 El-nino rains, then in 2010 when water uprooted a big tree that hit my house," Mafabi said.

The chairman said the heavy rains that have lasted for three days destroyed food crops.

Two houses were buried by mud while 58-households were said to be at "a very high risk" according to Steven Wamukote, the Region Red Cross programme manager for Mbale. One man said staying in a case as his home was also said to be "living dangerously."

Wanale sub-county surrounds the 25km-long ridge at the foothills of Mount Elgon. The ridge is a massive huge of lava, that culminates in the dramatic cliffs that overlook Mbale town.

Residents who stay on the slopes trek uphill using the winding main road or footpaths that cut across the slopes.

On June 25 a massive landslide struck several villages in the nearby Bududa district burying homes in which four bodies have so far been recovered.

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