Government is working towards ensuring that affected families receive necessary assistance in form of relief items but they have continued to persuade residents to live the deadly slopes of Mount Elgon for safer areas elsewhere in the country.
The slopes of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda is the deadliest location so far in Uganda. On March 2010 and August 2011, close to 1000 people were buried by a massive landslide that wiped away 11 villages and settlements here. Government came up with a very well considered plan of relocation, but only a handful of the the people shifted to safety, the rest stayed fearing that the government was planning to take away their land.
Now those who have been hit by the latest landslide were the hard-headed residents who went about de-campaigning the the relocation exercise in 2011.Two larger villages of Namaaga and Bunakasala with an estimated population of 450 residents were completely buried by rabble and mud and many believe the village has suddenly become a mass-grave yard.
The tons of mud and boulders that covered what used to be the villages do not give any impetus for rescue efforts because it is very unlikely that there are still any survivors. Deeply depressed residents were however, still seen struggling to dig through the mud in the effort to find bodies of their loved ones. Only 18 bodies have so far been found while at least 81 people were rescued from the area alive following the land slide that was triggered by the heavy afternoon downpour of June 25. Many of the victims still remain unaccounted for and the government has called off the rescue efforts, siting bad weather and threats of more landslides.
It is not just by coincidence that landslides have made the slopes of mount Elgon such a dangerous place to live in today. The truth is, the population caused this fragility in the eco-system through widespread cutting down of tree cover, disrupting the clever inter-connection between plants and the other natural conditions responsible for a vibrant environment. While these poor peasants have continued to cut down forests progressively towards the peak of the Mount Elgon, they have actually made the region extremely fragile and risky to live in.
I hate to say this, but landslides of this magnitude only serve as pay-backs to people who think God was so stupid as to give us trees, wild animals, birds of the air, forests, rivers, and good soil cover teaming with insects, bees and worms! The truth is, God the Omniscient creator of the earth, knew these things were good for man only if he used them sustainably. The problem is that we are greedy and are never modest in our utilization of the environmental resources…at the end of it all we cut down every twig of the earth, pull trees off their roots, burn grass lushly growing and inevitably we invite the wrath of the environment against us in such painful ways.