BUDUDA – President Museveni on Sunday visited Bukalasi sub-county, the scene of the deadly landslides in Bududa District, and ordered for the immediate relocation of all residents living in the risky mountainous area to safer places.
The President, who apologized to the families of the dead that have so far reached 42, blamed some politicians for misleading him about the resettlement plan.
“I apologise for delaying but now, we are going to relocate you as soon as possible. I was misled by some of your leaders but now relocating people is no longer a debate,” he said at Bukalasi grounds.
“In 2010, I told you to relocate but you thought I was telling lies. I think you know that I was talking the truth now and everybody has agreed to be relocated,” he added.
The President gave Shs5m and Shs2m to each family that lost a relative and those with relatives, who sustained injuries, respectively. He also urged residents to conserve the environment and warned them against settling near the river banks and high- risk areas.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the process of relocating people has already started because the government has land both in Bulambuli and Kiryandongo district where landslide victims will be resettled.
“The process of relocating people has already started,” he said, adding that the government delayed relocating people living in risky areas to Bulambuli over court issues.
The tragedy has also left over 800 people displaced after River Tsuume burst its banks. River Tsuume pours into River Manafwa. Over 144 houses were also buried and washed away in the affected villages in the sub-counties of Bukalasi Bubiita and Buwali including a primary school, Tsuume junior academy. The search for the missing bodies is still on led by rescue and recovery team headed by Brig Steven Oluka.
According to the statement released by the commissioner for disaster preparedness and management, Mr Martin Owor, the disaster was caused by a landslide, which occurred about 1 km away from site.
“The landslide triggered boulders (huge rocks) into river Tsuume, which carried them down to Bukalasi trading centre. The boulders blocked the river channel causing the river to burst its banks,” he said.
The district chairperson, Mr Wilson Watila, welcomed the President’s directive and said it should be implemented as fast as possible.
“We tired of losing lives of people because the mistakes made by few people in government,” he said.