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
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
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
// 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.
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
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
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
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
The Fund was to finance Uganda’s disaster response.