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Ibanda Residents Refuse to Vacate Disaster Prone Area

Residents of Njembe I and Njembe II villages have ignored warning bells from local leaders, Geologists and Environmentalists. One of them said he would rather die while on his ancestral land than wander in different parts of the country.
Over 100 families have refused to relocate from the landslide prone villages of Njembe I and Njembe II in Kigunga parish, Ibanda district. 

The district leadership has spent the last three months sensitizing residents to relocate to other areas in anticipation of a disaster during the rainy season. The hilly area hosts over 150 families.

But the residents have ignored the warning bells. Elly Karokora, one of those that are reluctant to move says that he would rather die while on his ancestral land than wandering in different parts of the country.

Karokora says that Njembe hill has, since 1980, had cracks which would erode volumes of water whenever it rained. He however adds that the situation worsened in 2012 when the hills developed wider cracks as a result of constant earthquakes.

Agatha Tumusiime, a resident of Njembe I Village says that the district did not provide alternative land for the residents before advising them to relocate. She says that abandoning her land in anticipation of a disaster is tantamount to becoming a refugee.

But Ibanda District Chairperson Melechiudes Kazwengye warns that more lives could be lost if resident continue ignoring such warnings.  He says that more than ten people have died in the past and that with the threat of wide and deeper cracks developing in the rocky hills, residents are putting their lives at risk.

Kazwengye however says that the authorities cannot forcefully evict the locals from the land.

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