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Mudslide Victims Resist Proposal to Relocate their Children

Uganda Mudslide, Sironko mudslide

Residents of Bufupa parish in Masaba Sub County the Eastern Uganda Sironko district have rejected a proposal by government to relocate 1,498 pupils from two primary schools in area following the recent mudslides.

On August 28, 2017, mudslides hit Bufupa parish burying unspecified number of people, animals and displacing hundreds of others.

The mudslides also destroyed several, homes, crop gardens and livestock. A team of officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Education and Environment Ministry proposed to relocate pupils from New Life Primary School and Bufupa Primary School to a safe area.

Five of the people buried by the mudslides were pupils from the two schools. Eunice Nandudu Maku, the Masaba Sub County Female Councilor, identifies the pupils as Jane Namono, Zedrack Wadeya and Adrian Womaniala, all pupils of New Life primary school and Sam Wayanga and Sam Wodyangu from Bufupa Primary School.

An assessment by a team of officials from the three government agencies shows the two schools are at high risk of mudslides. Herbert Mulekwa, the Sironko LC V Chairperson, says they proposed to relocate pupils from New Life and Bufupa primary schools to Bukinyale primary school.

He says they want the pupils to relocated immediately to a safer place because the two schools are at high risk of mudslides. Sarah Bugoosi, the Sironko District Education Officer, says the proposal is to merge pupils from the two schools.

“We are worried that the water is flowing and anytime the mudslides might strike again,” she said. She says they want the primary seven candidates to relocate to a boarding facility so that they can catch up with the syllabus since they were disrupted by the mudslides. According to Bugoosi, there are 823 pupils New life primary school while Bufupa primary school has 675 pupils.

Alex Bunga, the Masaba Sub County LC V councilor, says parents have rejected the proposal to relocate their children and given their reasons. Deogracious Nabugodi, one of the mudslide victims, says they will not allow government to relocate their children to another school. “How do you relocate only the pupils and leave their parents?” she asked.

Adding that, “As parents we don’t see the reason why government wants to relocate our children.” He says that only those in the hilly areas need to be relocated. Joshua Namuuni, the LC I Chairman Salanje village in Bufupa parish, says Bukinyale primary school where government wants to relocate their children is only one and half kilometers away from the two schools, which makes no difference.

He also concurs with Nabugodi that only children from hilly areas should be relocated. Some of the parents say Bukinyale primary school is poorly equipped and lacks basic furniture and proper sanitary facilities to handle a high number of pupils.

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