Disaster Strikes REACH Area: Emergency Response Needed

242Yesterday we woke up to the news of a devastating landslide in Bunametsi village. Bunametsi is about 3 miles from the village of Bumwalukani where the REACH primary school is located. Both villages are located in the foothills of Mt. Elgon in eastern Uganda. After two days of continuous downpours, the hills of this area were saturated with water. The landslide took in its wake a church, a healthcare center and a school.

Initial estimates indicate that over 400 people have died, with many more injured and homeless. Among the dead are believed to be 100 children who were attending a local school. Because of the continued rains, further landslides are possible and the government has advised people to leave their homes and move to safer ground. The communities of Bunametsi, Bumwalukani and neighboring villages, which were already vulnerable with very few resources to fall back on, have sustained an enormous loss. Although the REACH school building has not been affected, our community of students, families, staff and teachers has. The family of an REACH student, who was on her way home from school, is missing and feared dead.

245REACH is committed to supporting its students, teachers and neighbors during this tragedy and as they recover. We have been a long-term partner of the local communities and plan to continue doing so long after the immediate emergency relief operations end. The next few weeks will be critical. Emergency relief workers are going to have to address injuries and emerging illnesses from unclean water and unsafe living conditions. We’re in close contact with our partners on the ground and are coordinating our efforts. We need your help as we reach out to this devastated community.

We ask you to consider donating to the “REACH Emergency Fund” which will go toward immediate relief aid, support for children impacted by the landslide and strengthen our community development initiatives to help with the recovery.

– John and Joyce Wanda

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