- Published on Friday, 29 June 2012 11:55
- Written by Nkwasibwe Geofrey
- Category: news
- Hits: 326
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Nandala Mafabi, yesterday asked government to declare the mudslide-hit Bududa District a “disaster area” to enable development partners pool resources for rapid humanitarian response and emergency relocation.
During a visit to the site in the flattened Bunakasala and Bunamulembwa villages, Mr Mafabi criticised government’s inadequate response and accused bureaucrats in Kampala of creating the impression that they were offering relief and other humanitarian assistance yet there was nothing tangible on the ground.
But Disaster Preparedness Minister Stephen Malinga dismissed the proposal, saying there was “no basis or reason” to declare the affected places or neighbouring cracked ridges a disaster zone.
“Whatever happened can be handled, and is being handled, by government and it is not a disaster,” he said by telephone.
Dr Mallinga, who said he was on his way to Bududa for the first time since the landslides struck on Monday, added: “There is no reason to declare the place a disaster area; what is the basis?”
Earlier, Mr Mafabi had said donors have held back in offering assistance to those affected by the landslides because the government allegedly misled development partners and Ugandans that it is on top of the situation.
“I think there is total reluctance on the part of government because it does not care about our people, he said, “If they had declared this a disaster area, other more willing partners would have come in to assist.”
The Leader of Opposition’s rebuke came 24 hours after Premier Amama Mbabazi during an impromptu visit to the affected villages on Wednesday, said heavy earth-moving equipment would be on site shortly to relieve residents, soldiers and police presently attempting to dig up buried bodies using rudimentary garden tools.
Government officials had indicated that wheelloaders and excavators would be sourced from Masaka District, roughly 380km away.
However four days after the landslides, and by 3pm yesterday, the equipment had not arrived in Bududa – and there was no sign it would – even as Dr Mallinga said he was en route to the scene.
By yesterday afternoon, withdrawing soldiers matching in single, made their way downhill from the affected villages – with the recovery efforts yielding little success.
The Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday delivered to the landslide survivors a truckload of relief food which officials said comprised 10,000kgs of maize flour and 5,000kgs of beans.
As the government took a battering from the LoP, in Kampala, UPC party observed that the Disaster Preparedness ministry has no value and should be scrapped. “The primary cause of mass deaths [during landslides in] the third successive year is not ‘mother nature’, but policy failures and incompetence of the National Resistance Movement government,” UPC Spokesman Lucima Okello said.
Source: Daily Monitor