The Ugandan government has completed construction of almost all of the initial 101 houses in the first phase of a resettlement project for landslide survivors in Bunambuye Sub-County in Bulambuli district. Construction of the 101 units began in December 2018 and only a few houses are yet to be completed. Officer in charge of logistics, Fred Tweheyo confirmed to The Daily Monitor, "We have completed the construction of most of the houses except a few on the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) site that we are now doing the final touches. I know by next week, we will be ready to hand over to the government." While it is unclear when the relocation exercise will begin, but the head of communication in the Office of the Prime Minister said preparations are already underway.
Uganda plans to construct 900 housing units and each unit will have two acres of land for agriculture. The government acquired 2,800 acres of land in 2013 to resettle landslide survivors. Construction Review reports that construction of all housing units will be completed by the 30th of July 2020. The construction is part of plans to resettle the entire population of 100,000 in 10 years. Uganda's state Miniter for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Management and Refugees, Musa Ecweru said, "All persons at risk will be resettled, and the places they will have vacated will be planted with trees for environment protection and eco-tourism."
While for some, resettlement is a matter of great urgency, others are worried that Bulambuli is prone to flash-floods and thus unsafe. However, some politicians have been accused of encouraging resistance so as to protect their electoral base while other families have cited ancestral links while others were more concerned with fertile soil and favorable weather. While there may be resistance, the landslides in the Mount Elgon region are simply not abating. In 2018, at least 67 landslides were recorded following heavy rains. With a growing population relying on agriculture, conditions will only get worse. The people of the Mount Elgon region might prefer better ways to resolve the current issues but there is much to be grateful for: their government is taking proactive measures to save lives.
Header Image: Daily Monitor