At least seven bodies have so far been recovered after landslides swept villages in Bududa and Sironko districts in Bugisu Sub-region on Tuesday.
Three bodies were retrieved from Namasa and Naposhi villages in Bushika Sub-county and one from Naroko in Bunabutiti Sub-county. Other three bodies were recovered from Bunagisa Village in Zesui Sub-county, Sironko District. The bodies were retrieved by residents using hand hoes.
In Bududa, more than 47 people are feared dead while more than 200 displaced families have sought refuge in churches and schools.
In Sironko, more than eight people are also feared dead while about 100 families have been displaced. Mr David Wafula, a survivor in Namasa Village in Bushika Sub-county, Bududa District, said the government has neglected them.
“We cannot do much with hand hoes. The government should come in and search for our missing relatives, whom we are sure are buried in the rubble,” Mr Wafula said.
He said they want to relocate to safer places but they have no means to buy land elsewhere. “We are tired of losing relatives due to the disasters. We want to leave but we have nowhere to go,” he said.
Mr Fred Gando, the executive director of Support Transformation Effort Programme, an NGO, blamed the disasters on human activities such as deforestation, degradation of wetlands and poor farming methods.
“River banks are bursting because they have been encroached on and government is not able to direct what is supposed to be done because of corruption,” he said.
Mr Gando said the disasters will continue to ravage the country as long as the people continue to ignore interventions designed to address climate change.
The spokesperson of the Uganda Red Cross Society, Ms Irene Nakasiita, said poor road network is hampering rescue efforts in the affected areas. “It is still raining and accessibility is a challenge because roads are impassable,” she said.
The Bududa District chairperson, Mr Wilson Watila, urged government to speed up relocation of the survivors to Bunambutye resettlement site in Bulambuli District.
Last month, the government announced plans to resettle about 140 families in the second phase, which is yet to start. In the first phase, 101 houses were constructed and about 720 people were relocated to Bulambuli.