More than 600 people displaced by landslides in Harugale, Bundibugyo District are pleading with the government to resettle them to safer places as rains intensify.
A heavy downpour in the area over the last three days has destroyed an unspecified number of houses and crop gardens, leaving families internally displaced, and without food, shelter and sanitation facilities.
Some of the affected persons are currently spending nights at Bupomboli Primary School, at or in some of the public buildings across the sub-county. The victims now want the government to secure land elsewhere and resettle them urging that the landslides are likely to increase and the outcome could distort their lives for several years.
Hadija Muhindo, one of the victims from Izahura parish told journalists that her family of 25 members was entirely dependent on agriculture and their gardens were all covered by the landslide leaving them with no other source of livelihood. She is concerned that although the government announced that there would be heavy rains this season it did not make any effort to help people in disaster-prone areas.
Alice Mibiri Musoki Kabagenyi, a 73-year-old resident whose house was destroyed is questioning why they have not been resettled even when they continue to undergo untold suffering as a result of landslides. She also criticises the local leadership for abandoning them despite their numerous outcries for help.
Grace Sostine, from Kibale Village, says the initial floods destroyed her house and the recent landslides have also brought down the new structure she was trying to put up for her family. She accuses the government of being reluctant to consider relocating them despite the area being prone to such disasters.
Bira Keziya, 78, said it is wrong for the government to look on when its people are suffering without allocating them any assistance. She added that they are scared of more destruction because the rain has increased in the last week yet they don’t have alternative land to shift to.
Erina Nyangoma, another resident from Kibale said she struggled to raise a house that could accommodate her and the grandchildren but it was partially brought down when the rains came. She is also appealing to the government to buy land in a safer place where they can be resettled.
Kathali Jerema, the Izahura LCI Chairperson says over 10 households have been displaced and added that it was important for the government to find land for the displaced persons because the area has been hit by landslides nearly every rainy season over the last three years.
Jackson Kyabyenda, the chairperson for Kasulenge II said that five households in the area lost all their property and they cannot restart life on their own.
Alipher Asuman, the Chairperson of Harugale Sub County also said that all the seven parishes in the sub-county have been affected by the landslides given their geographical location at the foot of the mountains. He added that the local leadership secured two classrooms at Bupomboli Primary School where the displaced families sleep and vacate in the morning to allow classes to operate.
The sub-county chairperson attributes the landslides to human activities including cultivation on the steep slopes of the mountain and cutting of trees that have left the soil bare and prone to landslides.
He added that the sub-county doesn’t have any resources to manage internally displaced persons and he is now appealing for government intervention.
The district chairperson Robert Tibakunirwa says a detailed report has been handed to the office of the prime minister seeking government immediate intervention.
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