Parliament has paid tribute to the victims of landslides in the Bugisu region.
Reports indicate that four people have died while scores are missing in Zesui and Masaba sub-counties in Sironko district following multiple landslides on 03 December 2019.
During a plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, on 04 December 2019, Hon. Ismael Orot (NRM, Kanyum County) asked Parliament to observe a moment of silence for those who died.
This was after Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe (NRM, Manjiya County) raised a matter of national importance seeking immediate response to support those affected by the landslides.
He said that the hardest-hit areas were Busika Sub County where 10 homes with an average of 30 houses have been buried.
“A whole ridge came rolling down and the rubble buried the families. So far, efforts by search and rescue teams have only been able to retrieve four bodies,” Nambeshe said.
He added that accessing the scene of the landslide is difficult because there is still a heavy downpour in the area.
“There is a river there that has also burst its banks and most of the civil servants who work in the health centre IIIs could not go back home because the bridges have been washed away. People are stranded,” he said
Nambeshe now wants the government to evacuate those in high-risk hills as the government continues with the permanent resettle programme.
“The permanent resettlement exercise has taken more than two years. The ministry has only managed to construct 100 households out of 100,000. This will take ages to conclude,” he said.
He added that the government should consider adopting the compensatory approach as recommended by the communities in landslide-prone areas, saying that it is cheaper and faster, compared to the construction of permanent houses.
“Or if we had gone by the earlier idea of urbanization. It is affordable. Seventeen locations have already been identified for this urbanisation,” Nambeshe said.
Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, said that the resettlement programme is being done in phases, adding that land has been secured for phase two.
“Phase two of construction has to be first tracked given that the rain caused more damage,” she said.
Oulanyah however, tasked government to ensure that the resettlement is given priority and done in one phase.
“The resettlement programme can work. Why don’t we do that and save lives? Why should it be done in phases? Those people should not be there now,” Oulanyah said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan questioned the government’s seriousness in resettling people.
“If you have 100 people who are in dire need and then you answered one out of 100 in two years, are you serious about resettling the people,” she wondered.
Last week, the Ministry of Finance provided Shs20 billion shillings for an emergency response to landslide affected areas, following a request from the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness.