Saturday, 29 September 2012
500 FAMILIES FACE EVACUATION AS CRACK DEVELOPS ON MT. RWENZORI
Local authorities in Kasese district are struggling with appeals to cause the evacuation of close to 500 families that risk to be affected by a loaming landslide after a huge crack was discovered in Buwatha Village in Kilembe sub-county.
The crack was first reported last week by the Kilembe sub-count councilor to the sub-county Mr. Emmanuel Kaghuma after residents discovered it following the start of the rainy season.
The crack is a top of the Kilembe Mines field that has been redundant for decades which had forced people establish homes in the area.
The Kasese Deputy Resident Commissioner Mr. Aminadabu Muhindo on Friday led a team of district officials to the area but had no option after assessing the danger other than advising residents to vacate the area for the safety of their lives.
The Deputy RDC expressed great fear that should rains fall persistently in the area for a week or two, lives could be lost.
The disaster threat comes at a time when the government of Uganda is negotiating with Gingco a Chinese company that wants to take over the copper mining activities in the Kilembe.
According to Buwatha village LC1 chairperson, Mr. Yowasi Muhindo, who has served the area for the last twenty six years, there are four hundred eighty people in the village.
Mr. Muhindo, however, said about 40 of the residents had fled the area for safety elsewhere.
Institutions that could be affected include Buwatha Primary School which has about 300 pupils, a Catholic and an Anglican Church.
At the source of landslide above the village, the ground had cracked and partly sank in while some parts are water-logged rendering the soils very weak and heavy.
Neighboring Mahango sub-county has experienced disaster in the past one year with 8 children buried by the ground falls on their houses in October last year and April this year.
The RDC said he is to inform the ministry of Disaster Preparedness to come up with mechanisms of helping out the people likely to be affected by the upcoming disaster.
Huge stones could also be seen precariously hanging some distances above a number of homesteads.
The area District Councilor, Emmanuel Kaghuma and the residents attribute the crack and the landslide on past Kilembe Mines activities in the area.
They allege that the ground had been weakened by the tunnels, which they said were now clogged with earth due to the many years of Mines non-functionality.
But the Kilembe Mines Safety Officer, Mr. Vincent Kaliisa, who is also acting Kilembe Mines captain, says a team from the company had visited the area and did not see any cracks.