Skip to content

Hundreds of Ugandans Still Homeless After Devastating Mudslide

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By Edna Namara, Reporter (Global Press News)
12/26/2018 (6 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

As Ester Nambuba steps out of a white tent, she stares blankly at the dress and sandals she is wearing. The fancy but disheveled maroon dress is the only clue to her affluent past.

Highlights

BUDUDA, UGANDA " Just days ago, she lived in a nice house on a picturesque hillside on the banks of the Suume River. The mudslide that destroyed her home also killed 45 people here.

Nambuba recalls October 11 as a normal day at the market. The streets were abuzz with activity, and the Suume River sang its usual babbling tune. Nambuba owned a popular bar next to the market in the Wanjenoir trading area. After shopping, passersby always knew they could quench their thirst at her bar, she says.

There was no warning, she says, that the earth was about to give way under their feet.

It wasn't until 1 p.m. that the sky hinted at the day's coming events. Dust began to cover the sun and litter the sky.

Plants and trees started swaying, following one another in a dance. Phones began ringing. Someone shouted, "Run!" But it was too late, Nambuba says.

Torrential rains had swollen the Suume River and caused a massive mudslide that tore through the trading area, destroying shops and homes in its path.

Now homeless, Nambuba is living in a tent with 15 other people who are all waiting for news about relocation options.

"I am haunted by the deaths of my people, including my sister who had visited me," she says.

Bududa district, in the eastern region of Uganda, borders Mt. Elgon, Uganda's second-largest volcano, which is inactive. The region is prone to loose soil, says Martin Owor, commissioner of disaster preparedness in this region for the Ugandan government.

Since 2010, there have been 66 other landslides here, he says.

After a series of landslides in 2010, the disaster preparedness unit estimated that some 100,000 people were at risk in future landslides.

Local people, most of whom make their living by growing potatoes, onions, bananas and coffee, were advised to plant trees with deep roots, to help prevent erosion.

Owor says few people heeded that warning, because they prefer to grow onions and tomatoes, which have shallow roots but grow and sell quickly.

Remnants of Nambuba's shattered, light blue house still stand behind huge boulders next to the riverbank where her home once was.

"There was a trading center with over 20 structures which were all washed away," Nambuba says of the area where she used to live, while she sniffs back tears. "I grabbed my two children, and I ran further away from the river, which had burst, sweeping whatever was in its proximity."

Nearly two months after the deadly landslide, Owor says local government agencies are working to find lodging for the hundreds of people who were displaced. A six-month relocation program started on Nov. 1.

In the wake of October's deadly landslide, Samson Natsambwa, chief administrative officer of the Bududa district, says residents should not resettle on the hill and should stay at least 50 meters (164 feet) away from the riverbank. This was a long-standing warning, he says.

"If they had taken heed, we would not be in this mourning mood," Natsambwa says.

Leo Muhango says he clung to a tree to survive the landslide. When he is discharged from the hospital, he hopes to be relocated far from his home on the hill, he says.

"God has given me a second chance " I will not take this for granted," he says.

President Yoweri Museveni visited the scene three days after the disaster and recently made good on a promise to pay 5 million Ugandan shillings ($1,341) to each bereaved family and 3 million shillings ($537.12) to all those who lost their homes.

So far, 120 families have received payments.

Local residents say they are hopeful that more payments will come.

In the meantime, the Uganda Red Cross Society is asking people to donate money and items to help those affected by the landslide.


Comments


More Asia Pacific

UN approves investigation into drug war in the Philippines Watch

Image of

The UN Human Rights Council has approved a resolution to launch an investigation into the violent war on drugs taking place in the ... continue reading


Catholic woman with schizophrenia being held for blasphemy in Indonesia Watch

Image of

 A mentally ill woman who identified herself as a Catholic is being held for blasphemy in Indonesia after an incident last week in ... continue reading



Chinese officials crack down on religious funerals, weddings Watch

Image of

As the Communist Party of China continues to tighten its grip on the regulation of religion and religious activity, a human rights group is ... continue reading


Families are a radical witness to hope in modern society, Archbishop Gomez says Watch

Image of

The Christian family must become a "radical" sign against a climate of despair and isolation Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said ... continue reading


Christian leaders call for dialogue, end to violence in Hong Kong Watch

Image of

Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.