MTN Chief Executive Officer, Mazen Mroue, said that the money would be handed to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to purchase Non-Food items for 312 of the 450 families affected by the landslide.
“Most of the programmes we get involved in are planned well in advance to ensure we make a significant, long-term, sustainable difference to the lives of the people involved. But sometimes we are faced with sudden, serious situations where we believe we can be of assistance,” said Mroue.
At least 200 people were on Monday feared dead when a devastating land slide buried four villages of Bunakasala, Bunamulembwa, Mabaya and Walwanyi in Bumwalukani Parish,Bulucheke Sub County.
Government on Tuesday called off rescue plans in the landslide-stricken villages in Bududa district, saying there is no hope of finding any more survivors.
“We have called off rescue operations. The focus is on recovery of bodies, assessment of the needs of the displaced and provision of humanitarian assistance,” said Mallinga.
In a statement, Mallinga feared the landslides and floods buried about 29 homes with about 30 people.
“We cannot as of now establish the exact number of homes and people buried. Assessments are on-going to establish the exact numbers. 10 people have been rescued and admitted in Bududa Hospital,” he added.
The MTN said: “Our partners, the Uganda Red Cross, have approached us with an explanation of the extent of the damage so far, and we must get involved. But we believe that all interventions aimed at improving the lives of people must be long-term and must be sustainable in nature, otherwise the cycle will always continue.”
Mroue called on other corporate organisations to step forward with ways of finding a long-lasting solution to the problem of landslides in Bududa.
“That is why, in addition to this, MTN Uganda – in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, is building 20 houses in Kiryandongo to re-settle some of the families who were affected by the landslides in 2010,” Mroue announced.
Receiving the contribution, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Michael Richard Nataka commended MTN Uganda for consistently being the first corporate body to intervene whenever there is a disaster.
“I was personally in Bududa on Monday evening. It is a pity that each year the cycle of landslides keeps hitting our people. As you have rightly said, we want to partner with many corporates to find a lasting solution,” said Nataka.
“It is not good to always rush to respond but the lasting solution is to find a way of supporting these people to settle in safer places where they can live with peace of mind, cultivate and live normal lives without fearing that they will be swept away by a landslide,” he added.
Nataka said the Red Cross had supported survivors of the landslide with a few items from the URCS Mbale stores, and food from the office of the Prime Minister, but still faced a challenge with finding shelter for 3,368 people who were classified as being at serious risk.
“Where this happened there are cracks in the neighbouring villages and if it rains again we might hear of another disaster,” warned Nataka.
The Non-Food Item kits include shelter, shelter materials, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking pots, plates, cups, jerry cans, soap, and water purification tablets.
Nataka said the kits were emergency kits designed following international Disaster Response Guidelines.
MTN’s contribution has been appreciated by several Ugandans who are appealing for logistical support to Bududa victims using micro-blogging site Twitter.
In a related development the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi today travelled to Bududa to support efforts of recovering bodies and resettling displaced persons.