Only days after the tragedy that befell Bududa on Thursday, government officials have blamed politicians in the area for frustrating their efforts to relocate people from areas prone to mudslides.
On Thursday, tragedy befell Sume parish,Bukalasi sub-county in Bududa district when mudslides hit a number of villages following a heavy downpour that lasted over four hours.
There were ugly scenes as a number of bodies were recovered with missing parts like limbs and heads and others had wounds whereas many were seen floating on running water.
After the 2010 mudslide wiped out villages in Bududa that led to death of many 350, Cabinet took a decision to relocate the survivors to Masindi District, now Kiryandongo but up to now the people have never been relocated.
A number of people have since blamed government for failure to relocate people despite an earlier catastrophe that hit the same area in 2010 and there were signs of another occurrence.
However, the commissioner of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management in the Office of the Prime Minister, Martin Owor said on Friday a certain prominent politician that he never mentioned frustrated their efforts to resettle people from Bududa.
“A very prominent person wanted to sell us a wetland and we refused. That is where problems begun that when we refused, there a lot of political manipulations,”Owor said.
The Nile Post has however learnt that part of the land bought by OPM officials from one of the area Members of Parliament for resettlement was in a wetland.
Death toll rises
Meanwhile, according to the Uganda Red Cross Society spokesperson, Irene Nakasiita, the number of dead bodies so far recovered has reached 39.
“The total number of causalities is 15 and 13 of these are admitted at Bukalasi Health Centre III.Of these, six are females, four males and three children,”Nakasiita told the Nile Post adding that two of the causalities are admitted at Bududa hospital.
Uganda Red Cross Society also says that 139 homes with a population of over 690 people were affected by the mudslide that hit Bukalasi subcounty on Thursday.
It is said that five villages including Lwanda, Malandu, Namalila, Nyekhe, and Shitikho were affected by the catastrophe.
“A total of 16 people is missing and the search and rescue mission is still ongoing but a few places remain inaccessible because of the soggy ground and impassable roads,” said the Uganda Red Cross mouthpiece.
The state Minister for Environment Mary Goretti Kitutu blamed the landslide on human activities on the slopes of mountain Elgon.
“Landslides in this area date as early as the 1800s but the intensity was slower then. The growth in population and increased human activity on the slopes has increased the landslides,”Kitutu said.
She insisted that people should not be allowed to settle on hills but can carry out activities like afforestation to reduce landslides.