The deaths bring to 13 the number of children so far killed in landslides in the same sub-county in the last six years
Two teenage sisters died early Monday morning after their home was razed in a landslide in Mahango sub-county, Kasese district at the foot of Mount Rwenzori.
The tragedy struck in Bukumbya village as Winnie Biira and her sister Patience Kabugho, both Primary Seven candidates were preparing to go to school.
“They died instantly when the landslide hit their family house, burying them alive on one side of the house,” the Mahango sub-county chairperson, Erick Mathu, said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon.
Mathu said their bodies had, however, been retrieved from the rubble, adding that the overnight torrential rains had also devastated hundreds of farms of food and cash crops.
The deaths of Biira and Kabugho bring to 13 the number of children so far killed in landslides in the same sub-county in the last six years.
“The landslides killed five children in this sub-county in 2013 followed by four in 2014 and two in 2015,” Mathu told New Vision.
He attributed the tragedies partly to increasing population which he said had put pressure on land as communities try to unsustainably eke out livelihoods in the hilly area.
“The people have cultivated the hilltops and sides and degraded the river valleys in an effort to construct houses and grow crops,” Mathu said.
He, however, said the sub-county administration was mobilising the communities to plant trees, and also encouraging the most vulnerable to migrate to relatively safe areas in the district.
“The challenge is that the communities are so attached to their ancestral places that telling them to abandon their roots isn’t appealing,” he said.
A seven-member family in Kibandama village in Kilembe sub-county, narrowly escaped death when another landslide hit their house on Sunday night, the area LC3 chairperson, Modesto Kamatte, said.
Robert Kikuuka said the members of his family were asleep when they woke up to the sound of the walls of their house collapsing, forcing them to scamper to safety.
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) October-December weather forecast, warns of destructive rains in western Uganda, the Rwenzori area inclusive.
In the forecast, disseminated by the UNMA senior meteorologist in the Directorate of Applied Meteorology, Data and Climate Services, James Bataze, the Authority advised communities in the hotspots to relocate.