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Horrifying stories of death on the mountain

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd March 2010 03:00 AM

Before the landslide struck, it had been raining the whole day. Busy villagers went about their business without a fuss. Then at exactly 8:00pm, a loud bang was heard as rolling rocks shook the villages.
A survivor recalled: “We heard a loud bang up in the mountain ranges. The trading centre

Before the landslide struck, it had been raining the whole day. Busy villagers went about their business without a fuss. Then at exactly 8:00pm, a loud bang was heard as rolling rocks shook the villages.
A survivor recalled: “We heard a loud bang up in the mountain ranges. The trading centre

By Henry Mukasa, Paul Watala and Jimmy Muwanika

Before the landslide struck, it had been raining the whole day. Busy villagers went about their business without a fuss. Then at exactly 8:00pm, a loud bang was heard as rolling rocks shook the villages.
A survivor recalled: “We heard a loud bang up in the mountain ranges. The trading centre was busy with people who had taken shelter from the rain, mourners coming from burial and traders. Many tried to scamper to safety but it was too late.” It was the same story in Nametsi village which bore the brunt of the raging weather. It is a tale of heartbreak and a futile attempt to come to terms with the predicament. Landslides, with less casualties and magnitude, last occurred there in 1997.

Isaac Watyekere, 20 (Nametsi village):
He lost his father, Efusa Nasibu, 49, mother Rosemary Nandudu, 47, four brothers and six sisters. He got the sad news while at school, Bushika SS. “I was telephoned by my brother, Hakim, who advised me to take a boda-boda and rush home. I asked him what the problem was but he insisted that you just come. On the way, a friend told me: “Sorry for what happened. Your family has gone with the landslide.” I could not believe my ears. When I looked at where our house used to stand, I could not recognise it. I have seen the body of my mother and one brother. Others may be somewhere here,” Watyekere said pointing at the rubble.

Damascus Wanyenya, 27 (Kubehwo village):
We heard unusual sound and were told that some rocks had fallen on some people. By the time we came to the village, we could not hear any cries for help; everything was buried. We tried to dig up survivors in vain.

Nandudu Jessica, 27 (Nametsi village).
The sister I follow, Margaret Lubago, 37, her husband David Nasiru, 40, and all their seven children were killed. Only two bodies have been found, just body parts. I survived because the rolling mud stopped just before our house.

Micheal Musene, 19 (Nametsi village).
The garden flooded and we tried to dig channels to create way for the water and drain it. On returning home, we were feeling so cold and wanted to take hot tea. Dad went to the trading centre to buy sugar. We waited for him and he never returned. We looked for him later but it was too dark, wet and the soil had covered the whole place.

Jacob Lulitsa, 62
(Tunwatsi village).
My son, Fred Nasoso, was attending to our shop in the trading centre. When I heard the sound of the rolling stones, I became concerned. I waited for my son in vain. In the morning I realised the trading centre had been flattened. Government should send me relief because I have lost all my merchandise worth sh3m. If there is an alternative place, I would relocate because this place has become a death trap.

Nice Kayinja, 23, (nurse at Nabumali health centre)
Kayinja was in Nabumali when she was telephoned that the water had swept away her mother and brother. Phoebe Nasasa, her mother, was a midwife living with three children, a cousin and a houseboy. “I don’t know whether she was at home or at the health centre. I am so hurt and shocked. I don’t know whether I will find mum! The stones...” said Kayinja as she wept. Another cousin, Jennifer Namutosi, and her husband Omunyala Matanda and their six children were buried alive.

Michael Wesilila, 33, was pulled out of grocery
Heavy rain pounded the area, forcing many to take shelter at the trading centre. The numbers grew as mourners and school children returning home also stopped over. At 7:00pm, water started to gush from the mountain top. Residents took off to safe locations, but the rain simply intensified as it approached 8:00pm. Some people stayed put at the centre. Then all of a sudden, big stones and a mass of soil came lumbering downhill, scattering the terrified people in all directions. Those who ran to the western side did not survive. Those who fled eastwards were lucky. They survived. The western side of the trading centre turned into a death trap. The rest of the residents were all buried! They cried plaintively, calling for help. Some were rescued. I am a survivor. I was in my grocery shop. I was pulled out.

Grace Namaloje, 22 (Nametsi village)
My husband and I survived. We were in the house. At 7:00pm, we heard a crackling sound. At 7:30pm, we heard the same sound again. At 8:00pm when we heard it again, it was followed by the rolling stones and soil. It had rained heavily and when it reduced at 7:00pm, hell broke lose. We have never got tips from leaders or government on how to escape a landslide. We need food and seeds from government because our entire livelihood is gone with the debris.

Horrifying stories of death on the mountain

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