Uganda: Bugisu Landslide Survivors Struggle to Cope With Life

9 December 2019

Ms Annet Wandeka, 31, sits a few metres away from the heap of mud, where the body of her father and brother were found buried.

Her relatives are among the nine bodies that have so far been retrieved from the mud in Bushika Sub-county in Bududa District after a landslide hit the area last week.

The landslides also left more than 300 families displaced and they are currently seeking shelter at relatives' homes, churches and in schools.

Narrating her ordeal to the Daily Monitor at the weekend, Ms Wandeka, a resident of Naposhi Village in Bushika Sub-county, Bududa, said: "I saw their bodies but other parts were missing.

That has been troubling me everyday. I have never had sleep."

She now lives with her relatives in the neighbouring village.

Landslides hit villages of Naposhi, Shikhururwe and Namasa in Bushika Sub-county and Naroko village in Bunabutiti Sub-county.

On Saturday, government delivered an excavator to help locals search for missing bodies.

Residents had been using rudimentary tools like handhoes to search for their relatives.

In Sironko District, where another landslide occurred in Bunagisa Village in Shimoma Parish, Zesui Sub-county, four bodies were recovered while others are still missing.

During a meeting with district leaders and officials from Muzuri ya Nguzu, a local beverage company at Ngagako Town Council headquarters on Friday, residents tasked government to speed up the relocation process.

The company delivered food and other items including saucepans, cups, jerrycans, soap, and maize flour to the victims.

Ms Mary Nabutuwa, a survivor, who also lost her husband, whose body was still missing by Friday, said they need a safe place.

"It is true we have no food, no shelter and no beddings but we must be relocated from churches and schools," she said.

"Bududa is a dangerous place to live now. We are tired of losing our relatives,' Mr John Simuya, another survivor, said.

Government aid

Bududa District officials on Friday said government had sent more than 50 bags of rice and blankets for victims, which had not yet been distributed by Saturday morning.

Mr Samuel Mukisa, the chief executive officer of Muzuri ya Nguzu, said government should enforce the planting of trees and use of better farming methods to avert such impending disasters.

"The people of Bududa have good soils but they use poor farming methods which make the soils too weak and results into landslides," he said.

He added that as a company, they will partner with the district officials to spearhead the planting of trees and sensitise communities on better methods of farming.

Mr Wilson Watila, the chairperson of Bududa District, requested the survivors to be patient as government and leaders seek possible ways to rescue them.

"The Office of the Prime Minister has sent us food items including 500 bags of maize flour, each weighing 50kgs, clothing and bedding, which we will distribute," he said.

Mr Watila added that victims of the recent landslides are phychologically tortured and need counselling services.

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