Officials from Uganda Red Cross society and local leaders in Mbale City have asked the government to relocate families living on the slopes of Wanale hill, which has developed cracks.
Addressing journalists at Maganda Primary School in Lwasso Sub-county on Monday, Ms Irene Nakasiita, the communication officer for Uganda Red Cross, warned that landslides could occur in the area during the rainy season.
“We appeal to the government to listen to the needs of the people, many need to be relocated. There are visible cracks and a big disaster may happen any time,” she said.
For a long time, residents in the affected areas have asked the government to consider blasting the rocks to mitigate the possible danger, but in vain.
Ms Aidat Wolayo Kimasi, the woman councilor for Kihuno Ward in Lwasso Sub-county, said they are living in fear.
“We are asking the government to help us and blast these rocks hanging over our houses. We have sleepless nights whenever it rains heavily,” she said.
Mr Ayub Twaha, the Red Cross branch manager for Mbale, said according to a survey they conducted recently, hundreds of homes are situated in disaster-prone areas of Lwasso, Bukonde, Bufumbo and Wanale.
“As the rains intensify, there is fear of another disaster and many families may be caught unaware,” he said.
Ms Nakasiita said as a temporary measure, the Red Cross gave tents to families displaced by floods in Bugisu sub-region.
“Many are not able to stay in their houses because they are not habitable at the moment. We have provided them with kits so that they can start live afresh,” she said.
About 250 affected families also received non-food items, including jerricans, soap, saucepans, plates, and mattresses.
Environmental experts blamed the disasters on environmental degradation coupled with the effects of climate change.
Mr Philip Massa, the National Resistance Movement chairperson for Northern City Division, said the government should support the affected families and also come up with measures to prevent the loss of lives.
“Our people are desperately looking at the government for help because they cannot afford to relocate themselves,” he said.
According to a September 2 report by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, Bugisu Sub-region is experiencing occasional outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms.
Early last month, about 200 families were displaced after floods triggered landslides in Lwasso and Wanale.
The main road, Mbale-Nkokonjeru, was also cut off after huge boulders from the hill blocked the route.
A number of houses were destroyed by the rolling stones, but no death was reported.
The Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, said during the launch of the resettlement of 4,000 households at risk of landslides in Bududa District last week that the government is committed to its promise.
Ms Nabbanja, however, observed that human activity and destruction of the environment are partly responsible for the disasters in the region.
“The mountain slopes have been left bare and naked due to over cultivation and search for timber and firewood. The vegetation cover has been depleted and terraces have been removed,” she said.