BY ALEX BALUKU
At least fifteen people have been confirmed dead and an under-determined number are missing and feared dead after fresh landslides hit Kasese in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
Another 6 people were injured and taken to various hospitals including St. Paul’s Health Center IV, our reporter at the scene has reported.
Zalimon Basighalha aka Goodluck, says that tragedy befell homes at Kasika village, Kigorwe Parish in Rukoki Sub County which saw several people buried by the landslide that hit the area at 2:30am when all the people were in deep sleep.
Basighalha says the landslides were as a result of heavy rains that hit the area last night.
He says that the 15 bodies were recovered this morning by a section of locals and that the Uganda Red Cross response team has been seen on ground working with local authorities and other responders including the office of the Kasese Resident District Commissioner and the District Chief Administrative Officer to search for the other missing persons. Crops and plantations have been destroyed.
Speaking to rwenzoridaily.com, the Uganda Red Cross Spokesperson, Iren Nakasiita, in the past, they issued an early warning that a number of areas including Kasese were at risk of landslides due to heavy rains.
Last month, the Uganda National Metrological Authority (UNMA) warned that the August and September was likely to be characterized by enhanced (heavy) rainfall.
In their weather outlook for August and review of rainfall performance of June and July report, the authority indicated that particular areas of the country would be receiving slightly more rainfall than the rest.
“The rainfall outlook for August indicates that areas of northern, eastern and parts of mid-western are likely to receive enhanced rainfall while the rest of the country is likely to receive occasional rainfall,” a weather outlook focus released at the last month reads in part.
Kasese district has in the past years been experiencing floods and landslides during the rainy season of the year.
What causes landslides?
Landslides are caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope. They can accompany heavy rains or follow droughts, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. Mudslides develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground and results in a surge of water-saturated rock, earth, and debris.
How to prevent Landslides
There are various direct methods of preventing landslides; these include modifying slope geometry, using chemical agents to reinforce slope material, installing structures such as piles and retaining walls, grouting rock joints and fissures, diverting debris pathways, and rerouting surface and underwater drainage.
The best way to avoid landslides is not to live or work in an area that has a landslide history.
This online will give a landslide history of Kasese in our subsequent write-ups.