Mitigation and preparedness practices to cope with landslide disasters among Mt. Elgon local communities of Bududa district in Uganda
This study is aiming at making a qualitative study of the geological hazards on Mount Elgon ranges in Mbale sub-region in Eastern Uganda. This is a marked landslide prone area and densely populated because of its fertility. Landslide occurrences in this area affect the livelihood of these communities by destroying their sources of income, and causing many fatalities. The previous landslide that happened on 1st March 2010 caused over 300 deaths and destroyed farms, infrastructure including dispensary, school, church and many families remained without houses. This qualitative study identifies why these communities are consistently having fatalities and destruction of valuables in occurrence of a landslides. Then the study proposes adjustments in activities that may help them to cope with this disaster, reduce loss of lives and livelihood, and avoid the secondary effects of deteriorated public health, which might result in another disaster. The objective of this study is to analyse the community practices of mitigation and preparedness for landslides. This gives more light to what the community has done and what is lacking to stop, prevent, reduce the impact, get the communities prepared, respond and engage in disaster recovery efforts. The study conducts interviews of key informant persons, focus group discussions and analyse available literature at local government and Non-governmental organisations. The researcher applies disaster management theories according to Coppola (2007) as the primary guide. Out of the three major cyclic phases of disaster management, (risk reduction, Response and Recovery), this research is going to handle risk reduction components which according to the current disaster management theory, is the foundation of disaster management.
The study emphasises non-structural measures like education, beliefs, skills (behaviour), aiming at altering community practices. When the population acquire information that transform their behaviour, this consequently influences joint effort in structural adjustment, the construction of infrastructure and farming, structural measures to alter the physical environment (Coppola 2007, World Bank, 2007).
This approach hopefully, contributes to the reduction of losses of life and livelihood, preservation of public health in Bududa communities, and applies the findings to other parts exposed to disasters as may be viewed necessary.