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One dead, two injured in Mbale landslides

MBALE- One person has been confirmed dead and two seriously injured in Mbale landslides on Sunday.

Peace Sandra Khainza, a 14-year-old pupil of Hilltop Primary School was hit by a rock as she walked from the garden in the hilly Bukhatoko village, Bubetsye Parish, Wanale Sub-County in Mbale District.

Mr Godfrey Werikhe, the father of the deceased said they were coming from the garden when the incident happened.

“My daughter was behind us. I heard her crying for help as rocks and soil fell on her,” the sobbing Mr Werikhe said.

He said his wife who was also injured was rushed to health facility.

One of the injured people was identified as Moses Mafabi, a 35-year-old man. He is admitted to Wanale Health centre III.

The landslides buried acres of plants mainly onions.

The area is experiencing heavy rainfall.

Police headed by Elgon regional commander, Mr Francis Chemusto went to the area to assess the damage.

Mr Chemusto said the area was declared a no go zone following deadly mudslides that hit the area in the past.

“We have assessed the area found that people are at risk. There are some fresh cracks,” he said, adding that he had communicated to the office of Prime Minister [OPM] to intervene.

He said the mountain have developed big cracks due to deforestation, poor methods of farming and poor land management.

Local leaders who visited the area on Sunday warned of a looming disaster.

The warning comes at a time when the mapping survey by the OPM indicated that people living on the slopes of Mt. Elgon are at great risk.

The Wanale Sub County District Councillor, Mr Micheal Mabonga told this reporter that about four villages are at risk.

He said new cracks have been sighted in Bukhatoko, Namanje, Bubirabi Lower and Bubirabi Upper raising fears of looming disaster.

This comes barely three years after the National Environment Management Authority and Uganda Wildlife Authority discovered a 40-kilometre crack on the mountain that is threatening lives of about 8,000 people.

The State Minister for Environment, Dr Goretti Kitutu said the cracks indicate more landslides will certainly occur.

“People should not settle in such areas. Planting trees in such steep areas is the only remedy. The soils are also stony, loose. This is a high risk area not fit for human settlement,” Dr Kitutu said.

Between 2011 and 2013, about 1,000 people lost their lives after landslides hit the area.

Residents, especially in Bulucheke Sub-county, were displaced and others taken to camps in   Kiryandongo District, hundreds of kilometres away.

©Daily Monitor

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