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Bududa Budgets UGX 100 For Disaster response

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Bududa District Secretary For Social Services, Patrick Meelu says they cannot carry out early warning systems or any form of disaster risk reduction awareness because there is no money.
12 Jun 2019 17:37
Fresh mudslide at Buwali Sub county in Bududa District. It swept a mostly aforested part of the hill

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One hundred Shillings sounds too small an amount but that is the money Bududa district local government has budgeted for disaster preparedness in the next financial year. 

The disaster-prone district says it needs about Shillings 24 billion but it cannot raise the money locally.

Bududa District Social Services Secretary, Patrick Meelu says they cannot carry out early warning systems or any disaster risk reduction awareness campaigns due to lack of money. 

//Cue in “We are at God’s mercy… 

Cue…. Otherwise the disaster budget is one hundred shillings”// 

Asked whether Shillings 100 is actually reflected in the district’s budget, Meelu confirmed, saying it is normal in the budgeting process to create a budgetary line to show that there is need. 

Meelu, who is also Bududa District National Resistance Movement-Party Vice Chairperson, said the idea of disaster preparedness and management is dysfunctional. 

// Cue in “The structures are there…. 

Cue Out……with no budget line”//

Bududa has just experienced a number of mudslides caused by heavy rains. Over four hundred families from Bubiita, Buwali, Bukalasi and Nalwanza sub counties were displaced with eight people dead. 

The absence of early warning systems was evident as URN drove through Manafa and Bududa districts. River Manafa running from areas hit by mudslides was almost flooding but there was no sign warning pedestrians and motorists.

The river had affected most parts of the road after Nalwanza near Bukigai market but it seemed normal three days after Nalwanza experienced mudslides. 

Meelu told URN that the only early warning signs existed shortly after the 2010 mudslide disaster, which claimed 300 people.

// Cue in “NGOS like Red Cross……

Cue Out…… as we speak”// 

The absence of a streamlined and funded disaster response mechanism has left most of the victims in dire state. Most of the victims had haven't received assistance almost four days after the mudslides razed their homes.

They include older persons, People with Disabilities, women, the poor and children among others. At Bududa district headquarters, there was only one small UNHCR tent housing two families. 

Meanwhile, the main hall at Bududa Sub county had been turned into a reception area. A few benches in the hall had been joined to form beds on which, some of the victims lay.

URN also saw a number of babies on mats on the cold floors. Ahamada Watuwa, the Chairman LC III Bubiita Sub County, said they hadn't received any assistance from the Office of Prime Minister.

// Cue In “ To my surprise…… …..

Offered the nets ”// 

Asked about early warning and disaster management at the sub county, Watuwa said the technical committees charged with disaster risk reduction and awareness are never on the ground.

// Cue in “There is no disaster warning

Cue Out……but they don’t work”// 

Watuwa says there is need to rethink the current method of disaster management and response. He says the mudslides have had a high cost both to the local economy and individual households but no financial resources have been provided by the central government to finance resilience to these weather extremes.    

While the constitution directs the state to institute an effective machinery for dealing with any hazard or disaster arising out of natural calamities or any situation resulting in general displacement of people or serious disruption of their normal life, the interventions by the Office of the Prime Minister have not been to the challenge.

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) recently noted that the Government of Uganda is still spending the bulk of its resources on managing and responding to disaster as opposed to managing and reducing disaster risk. The government has not established a Disaster Preparedness and Management Commission “to deal with both natural and man-made disasters” as required by article 249 of the constitution.

CSBAG also found that the Public Finance Management Act, (PFM Act, 2015 as amended) provision for funding the management of disaster preparedness, mitigation and prevention is yet to be operationalized.  

Section 26 of the Public Finance Management Act 2015 established a Contingency Fund, which in every financial year was meant to be replenished with an amount equivalent to 0.5% of previous year’s total appropriated national budget. 

The Fund was to finance Uganda’s disaster response.