Nametsi Landslide

For the past three days we were scrambling along the western flank of Mt. Elgon to map villages affected by the Nametsi landslide and the landslide itself. Nametsi is a tiny village with few hundred people, most residing now in the camp for displaced population several kilometers away. The landslide that occured on March 2 buried almost three hundred people. Some were in the health clinic and some just stayed in small trading center. Interestingly enough, but in most places I visited for the past two weeks life starts after the dusk despite the absence of electricity. People use lamps and just walk, gather in groups and enjoy conversations, sell and buy grilled corn, chupatti, bananas and other local delicacies. The tragedy in Nametsi awakened locals who constantly experience small and large landslides but never the fatal ones. The landslide in March revealed the seriousness of situation and necessity to undertake steps toward improvement. When I asked local chairman, Mr. Julius Wereka “what can I do for you?” he answered: “People should know more about landslides, education and awareness is critical now”.  I kept thinking that 45-70 degree slopes should be itself a warning factor. But in this country of muscular and sturdy people who cross mountains daily and carry heavy loads on their heads it is not strong enough argument. People here conquer the nature, they live and plant on these slopes. Who will provide the right answer? Next “Nametsi”?

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3 Responses to Nametsi Landslide

  1. Juliana Maantay says:

    Greetings, Yuri and colleagues! Thanks for the postings on your blog – fascinating stuff- you guys are so lucky to be there doing such important work, and of course, I’m sure the people are glad to have you there. It looks beautiful, but I know you are all working hard. See you back home soon, safe and sound. JAM

  2. Ian Anderson says:

    Thanks for that dude,
    I was the guy (with a whole bunch of local guys) who built the health unit in Nametsi while working as a volunteer for CARE International back in the late 90’s. I was absolutely distraught when the landslide hit. You can’t imagine how I felt when I heard that the local kids had sheltered in the Unit believing that its sturdy construction would protect them. My imagination of that will haunt me forever.

    I am getting sporadic news from old friends in the region but it is always nice to hear news from someone looking at Nametsi with ‘fresh eyes’.

    I know that people are resilient in Uganda, it’s just a shame that they have learned to be that way!

    Enjoy your time in a wonderful part of the world, it will forever colour how you see the world and your place in it.
    Stay well

  3. Joseph E. White says:

    Hello Yuri,

    i just read your article, and i have to say this work your doing for this village is out standing, i believe your research will better help this village and perhaps come up with more effective ways on how to be more prepared for a landslide. i wish you all the best in your continued research.

    Best,
    Joseph E. White

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