Climate disaster experienced live

Geschrieben von Josh Wakula am 06.03.2022

The Elgon region is located in the eastern part of Uganda comprising of districts namely Mbale, Sironko, Bududa, Manafwa and Bulambuli among others. The main physical attraction of the region is its great Mount Elgon which is unique with several rivers running across it. It is such a tourist attraction which has many revelers and tourists visiting on several occasions.

The Elgon region has however been the area more prone to landslides and floods given its nature being a mountainous region registering over 410 landslides in the past and leaving more than a thousand human lives and cattle lost, property damaged, plantation destroyed and a majority of people displaced.

Current state of the Bududa-Bukalasi road after a heavy downpour. It's the main road to several locally affected communities of the Bududa landslides

As of recent, cracks on the dormant volcano of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda continue to widen in the wake of the last landslides in 2019, sparking fears a similar tragedy may be imminent. But the land slated for relocation might be equally at risk, leaving survivors with distressing choices. At least 73 people were killed and more than a thousand displaced when flood waters triggered by the landslide washed away much of the town of Bukalasi and surrounding villages in the district of Bududa in 2019.

Exacerbated by climate change, deforestation, a growing population living of the land, years of government inaction, such disasters have become increasingly common in mountainous eastern Uganda. In march 2010, over 350 people died in landslides followed by similar disasters in 2011, 2012 and 2019.

The most recent landslide affected four villages. The mountainous region was currently in its rainy season that normally runs from September to December.

For those around Bukalasi village whose lives have been upended and for tens of thousands of residents considered at risk of future landslides, there is no easy solution; homes have become hazardous, but the land the government has earmarked for relocation is shrouded in warnings and controversy.

As a concerned climate activist and a native of the region, I believe that everyone including Bududa affected communities deserve a right to a clean and healthy environment regardless the calamities they are highly exposed to. More so the government has been aware of the risk of the landslides in this region for many years now but little has been done and till now, it’s yet to put an effective machinery/tool like early warning systems based on the monitoring of ground conditions to easily provide reliable alerts.

The Elgon region floods and landslides together are a major cause of water born diseases and its rampant spread in the locality.

Personally, I've been affected as I lost relatives in the 2019 landslide together with having my maternal uncle's home and garden completely destroyed when heavy rains caused the Tsume river to burst its banks, sending water and boulders towards his village of Naphoshi.

Together with the XR Uganda base activists, we found it incumbent upon us to reach out to these locally affected communities whenever we can. As an obligation, we developed a tradition as XR Uganda base team, where we always set aside dedicated days, make programs and visit these locally affected communities one at a time whenever we raise funds and personal resources to reach out to these marginalized communities with whichever support we can extend. We have maintained this outreach program for the last two years. This has greatly helped and impacted on the lives of the locally affected communities as it has enabled us put a smile on their faces, given us the platform to have them share their life experiences, extend emotional and physical support such as provision of basic household items among others to the locally affected individuals in the communities. Together with the affected communities, we are very grateful for any form of support rendered towards this cause and look forward to reaching out to every locally affected villages one at a time and spread the love!

If you want to reach out to Josh to support, please contact: Thank you!

Join us on a Zoom-Livestream event on international women's day with people from rural Bududa in East Uganda as they tell their own story.

Tue, March 8, , 3 pm CET