Counting the cost of the Bududa landslides, a survivor’s tale

Thursday was a busy day for Irene Nakhumitsa who until nature struck, was among the successful businesswomen in Bukalasi trading centre.

Having been a market day, it was a brisk business day for Nakhumitsa until when River Suume burst its banks and reduced Bukalasi trading centre to rubble.

Her shop with a stock worth more than Shs 5m plus Shs 2.5m in cash that she had collected in the day’s sales were swept away by the violent waters.

Irene Nakhumitsa

A dress she was wearing on the fateful day is all that she remained with, but what is most traumatising to her is the death of the people she was with on that day.

At least 43 people are confirmed dead, 12 victims are admitted at Bududa hospital while  3 patients have been referred to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.


On Saturday, the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces  (UPDF) joined the joint  rescue and search  operations led by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), International Committee of the Red Cross  (ICRC),  the police and  Bududa district disaster management committee.

Brig Stephen Oluka, the National emergency and disaster preparedness coordinator at OPM said, logistical challenges that had slowed down the rescue operation had been addressed.

Bududa LC-V chairman Wilson Watira asked government to fast track the relocation of the most vulnerable families in the district.

“I urge the Ugandan government, especially OPM to fast track the implementation of the earmarked relocation of most vulnerable families to preferred and gazetted safer zones” said Watira

UPDF and Uganda Police in the rescue operation in Bududa.

Bududa district is predominantly hilly, with bad terrain which has made it prone to disasters like landslides that have claimed a number of lives, destroyed infrastructure like schools, health facilities, roads, bridges in recent times.

Landslides are common occurrences in  Mountain Elgon region during rainy seasons. The worst incident being recorded in 2010 where at least 300 people lost their lives.