Bududa landslides warning systems
Uganda partners with France, US to install a state of the art landslides warning systems in Bududa. File Photo

Bududa landslides: Uganda, University of Maryland and Strasbourg University install landslides warning systems

Bududa receives landslides’ warning systems. The district situated in the Elgon Region has faced a numbery of landslides over the years characterised by loss of properties and lives.

One of the remedies to this recurrent disaster has been the relocation of the people living in the Elgon region to other secure places by the government. 

However, the government of Uganda in partnership with the University of Maryland in the US and Strasbourg University in France has begun installing early weather warning applied research equipment, to monitor the landslides matter in the region.

Dr Catherine Nakalembe leader installation team, also an assistant research professor department of geography at the University of Maryland said that the installed machines will help monitor and detect the amount of rainfall that can cause landslides.

Nakalembe says this method is very effective because it sends an early warning that will enable people to relocate before the loss of properties and lives occurs.

“These rain gauges being installed are of high sensitive wireless communication technology that collects weather data concerning landslides, amounts of rain, floods, moisture and send it directly to the centre for action,” she said.

“Landslides and floods are a result of rainfall interacting with soils on steep slopes and this early warning equipment will be able to establish the amount of rain that results into landslides and floods, so that people can be alerted to vacate the dangerous areas.”

Describing the capacity of the equipment, Nakalembe says the installed equipment will monitor the weather and collect data from a distance of 15 kilometres from each other and send them to the monitoring centre as well.

However, Nakalembe says for the start only 5 pieces of equipment will be installed with each costing 5000 US Dollars. Its features include; a wind cup, humidity sensor, leaf wetness sensor, radiation, a sensor recalibration for signals, solar panel and rain collector cones.

Additionally, Nakalembe said that they are drafting strategies on how technology can be channelled to Ugandan students at Kyambogo and Makerere University.

Nakalema who expressed fear of losing the equipment to thieves, called upon the government to ensure maximum protection of the equipment.

Relatedly, Emma Okecho and official from Office of the Prime Minister revealed that government is planning to place one equipment at the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers camp, to ensure maximum security.

Okecho thanked Maryland and Strasbourg Universities for the support rendered toward Uganda’s wellbeing and safety of its citizens. However, he said relocation exercise will continue as well.

“We are grateful for the researchers from Maryland and Strasbourg Universities for the support offered to see that our people are saved from landslides. Our weather machines have been outdated,” Okecho said.

He adds that;

“Establishing such technology does not mean that we are going to stop with the relocation exercise. We shall continue, but we need them as the process continues.”

Okecho also said that they are going to demarcate both old and recent landslides potential areas in the Elgon region. He says the process already began, and they have finished up with Bukalasi sub-county in Bududa District.

Also, senior meteorologist, Felix Einyu in charge of installation and inspection of the new equipment said with the new technology, the department will collect and analyse weather conditions data, effortlessly.

“This technology will also solve the challenges of accuracy and response. We are also scared of vandals that have always destroyed the facilities.”

The installation process of the landslides warning systems began Saturday 2, November 2019, in Bushiyi sub-county in Bududa district and at Gateway Monitoring Centre at Bududa District headquarters.