A section of landslide victims, who were relocated to Bunambutye resettlement camp in Bulambuli District, have reportedly fled their homes due to lack of food.
Close to 241 families, comprising more than 4,000 people from different landslide prone-districts in Bugisu Sub-region, were resettled in the camp in two phases between 2019 and 2020. The first batch was resettled in May 2019 and another in February 2020.
When Daily Monitor visited the camp at the weekend, the victims said some of their colleagues, mostly those who were relocated in the first phase, have since fled to their home districts due to hunger.
“The government stopped giving us food in May last year, claiming we had grown enough food, which was not true,” Mr Stanely Simuya, one of the victims, said.
In September 2020, Ms Rose Nakabugo, the acting commissioner for disaster preparedness and management, said they had phased out food supply to the victims, who were resettled in the first phase of the project.
She said those who were resettled in the second phase, about 140 households, would continue receiving food until December last year.
Mr Simuya, who has since sent his children back and now living with his relatives, said the crops including cassava and maize, they had grown in the previous season, dried up due to bad weather.
“We only harvested little and we also informed the government officials and requested them to continue supporting us with food in vain,” he said.
Ms Fobase Nandudu, another victim, said her husband has since abandoned her and her children.
Land taken away
She said although the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) allocated them land for cultivation, they later turned around and took away the same land in August last year where Bunambutye Health Centre III is being constructed.
“We woke up when they had slashed all our crops which included maize and beans that we had grown. They told us that they were putting up a health facility,” she said.
Each family in the camp was allocated a two-bed room house, sitting on one acre. They were also supposed to be allocated with two acres of farming but most of them were given one acre.
Mr Fabian Wamai , another victim with a family of 10, said most of the children now look malnourished due to lack of access to enough food.
“My children can no longer get enough food; they are starving. I appeal to the government to come to our rescue because life has become very hard for us,” he said.
Mr Rogers Masete, another victim with a family of eight, said six of his relatives, whom they came with, have gone back to their original homes.
Mr Nathan Wilson Wanasolo, the chairperson of the victims, said food shortage has also resulted in high cases of domestic violence in the camp.
“Every day, I am chairing meetings of families fighting. The women are accusing their men of neglecting their families,” he said. He explained that some men have abandoned their homes and returned to the villages in landslide prone areas.
Mr Alfred Tsekeli, the production officer for Bulambuli District, said the landslide victims are facing hunger. “It is true the victims don’t have food and I appeal to the OPM to provide food,” he said.
Mr James Ingoi, the deputy chief administrative officer for Bulambuli District, said team from OPM will soon visit the camp to assess the food situation there.
Mr Julius Mucunguzi, the senior communication officer at OPM, said they phased out giving good supplies to victims that were relocated in phase one after they had started growing and cultivating their own crops. “This was to allow for self-reliance,” he said.