Heavy rains resulted in a large landslide on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Bududa in eastern Uganda at the end of June, sweeping away three villages and leaving hundreds of families homeless.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been working with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) along with the local community and authorities to make a difference to the families in need.
To date, a total of 100 ShelterBoxes have been distributed and disaster relief tents set up on or near the survivors' land to enable them to continue to cultivate it and earn a living as well as begin to rebuild their lives whilst living in dignity.
With the SRT now home, the remaining ShelterBoxes are in storage at the URCS depot in Mbale. The Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda (OPM) and URCS will distribute them as they continue assessments of families who need to be moved from areas where cracks are appearing in the land.
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ShelterBox's response in pictures:
Fighting between government troops and M23 rebel forces in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has forced thousands of families to flee their homes into Uganda.
Many crossed the border through Kisoro and travelled 20 kilometres to Nyakabande transit centre, bringing the number of refugees there to over 16,000. From there, many are being relocated 370 kilometres away to Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Kamwenge district, which currently has 13,600 refugees.
'The recent fighting, which was heavy and unexpected, resulted in thousands of people, including many women and children, entering Uganda within a very short time,' said Riccardo Conti, the head of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Uganda. 'They arrive destitute, because they have to leave everything behind when they flee the country.'
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) that has been in the African country responding to the Bududa landslide with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) is currently en route to the Kisoro district. They will assess the need for shelter and other lifesaving equipment for the fleeing Congolese refugee families.
Stephen O. Mallinga is the Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Refugees in Uganda:
'The increasing refugee influx into the country is impacting greatly on the meagre resources of the Government and host community. In this regard, I would like to call upon the International Community to urgently mobilise the requisite resources to enhance the government capacity of hosting refugees.'
SRT members Dave Webber (UK) and Fiona McElroy (UK) will be joining the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP), URCS, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Medical Teams International, who have been providing humanitarian assistance to the refugee families at Nyakabande.
Instability and outbursts of fighting have been ongoing in the DRC. The rebels took up arms last April and named themselves 'M23' after a failed peace agreement signed on 23 March three years ago.
tuesday, july 10:
'When the landslide happened most of the children were at school and many people were at the market. It was unclear how many people had been hit.'
George Matia is the local community leader in the Bududa district in Uganda. A member of Bunwalukani Parish was high on the hillside on the day the landslide happened, who saw the crack appear in the morning and informed the village elders. George then reported it to the local authorities. A few hours later, thousands and thousands of tonnes of earth shifted. A river of mud ran down the hillside for approximately half a kilometre, burying some families and forcing many others from their homes.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been assessing the need in the area. 4,000 people have been affected in the villages of Bunakasala and Bunamulembwa. Some families have had their homes swept away; many have been evacuated; and hundreds more households have been deemed at risk.
'There is a great need for emergency shelter for these families,' said SRT member Fiona McElroy (UK). 'In one family both parents lost their lives in the disaster and six children are now orphaned.'
ShelterBoxes have been sent from prepositioned stock in Dubai and are en route to the disaster zone, bringing the surviving families not just shelter, warmth and dignity but also a new sense of community and hope.
The SRT is committed to keeping families as close together as possible and will work with George and the local community to make that happen. Plans are being made to set up tents close to their homes.
'We hope to be putting tents up early next week, which will enable the villagers to live back together,' said SRT member David Webber (UK). 'They will also be able to clear the school where people have been sleeping, enabling the children to return to study.
'Most of the water supply has been completely destroyed. One spring was submerged by the landslide and the other has been contaminated. There is already cholera in the area so the water filtration equipment in the ShelterBoxes will help relieve the situation.'
ShelterBox is working with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) who has agreed to act as consignee for the aid and will provide volunteers to help set up the tents when they arrive.
The SRT has received vital assistance from Fred Kusolo Wallimbwa from the Child Development Foundation, who has acted as a local guide and interpreter and has been instrumental in finding a solution.
The local Rotary club in nearby town Mbale has also provided invaluable logistical help, including the provision of transport.
'The people are very clear that they want to remain in their local district. They do not want to be moved away from their tribe,' said community leader George. 'We are very grateful to ShelterBox for their help.'
View more images from the field on ShelterBox's Flickr page.
monday, july 2:
Up to 400,000 people may require emergency shelter in Uganda's mountainous east due to continuing heavy rains and mudslides that could force them to flee their homes. A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is en route to assess the situation.
Reports say the worst affected area is Bumwalukani Sub County in the Bududa district, where two villages, Namaaga and Bunakasala, have been buried by a mudslide that hit on 25 June. More than 100 people are missing and a further 30 have lost their lives.
The Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) has been part of the rescue efforts along with the local government. Their Secretary General Michael Richard Nataka has stated in reports that as the rain intensifies, hundreds of thousands of families in the region could leave their homes due to the fear of further mudslides.
'Three villages have been flattened in the Bumwalukani parish on the slopes of Mount Elgon,' said David Wakikona, a national member of parliament, told Reuters on 25 June. 'The areas around Bududa district have been experiencing heavy rains for days now and I am told the landslides started around midday today and that they're still going on and some villagers who survived the early slides are fleeing.’
SRT members David Webber (UK) and Fiona McElroy (UK) will be travelling to the African country to meet with local officials and other aid agencies to assess the need for humanitarian aid.
Mudslides are frequent in eastern Uganda. ShelterBox deployed to Uganda in March 2010, where 200 ShelterBoxes were delivered to mudslide survivors. back
ShelterBox Trust is a registered charity (1096479) and a limited company in England and Wales (04612652, VAT registered 777524785). ShelterBox is a charity independent of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. Our registered office is at Water-ma-Trout, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 0LW.