Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The University of Maryland in the United States of America and Strasburg University in France will install a landslide early warning system in the Mt Elgon landslide prone areas.
The move comes after Mt Elgon region has in the recent past experienced constant floods and landslides that have led to the loss of lives and destruction of property worth millions of shillings.
The team of researchers led by Dr. Catherine Nakalembe, an assistant researcher in the department of geographical science at the University of Maryland in the United States aims at having real time data on the amount of rainfall, humid and temperature levels that can be used in determining and setting early warnings on landslides in the community.
The researchers started the installation work last weekend by establishing an online gateway station in Bududa district that will enable them receive, analyses and determine the danger in the various parts of Mount Elgon basing on the rainfall amounts.
The equipment to be installed has a wing cup, a humidity sensor, a leaf wetness sensor, radiation shield, rain collector cones, solar panel and sensor recalibration for signals.
Dr. Nakalembe noted that the installation of the systems will help in monitoring the density of rainfall that soak the ground to result into landslides and floods.
“This early warning equipment will be able to establish the amount of rains that result into landslides and floods so that our people can be alerted to vacate from the dangerous areas,” said Nakalembe.
She explained that the weather stations will be established in a radius of 15 km radius into the various parts of the mountain to be able to monitor the weather conditions and collect data and send to the gateway instantly.
Emma Okecho, an official from the office of the prime minister said they are working out to see that some of the equipment are placed at the Uganda wildlife authority ranger’s camps (UWA) for security guarantee.
“We are greateful with the researchers from Maryland University and Strasburg for the support offered to see that our people are saved from landslide. Our weather machines have been old model and out dated,” He said.
Felix Einyu, senior meteorologist in charge of installations and inspections in the Uganda Meteorogical Authority said that the installation of new technology will quicken the process of reading and collection of the weather data.
Godfrey Watenga, the Lutseshe Member of parliament welcomed the move of establishing the warning system noting that it will enable them warn people the danger area.
“Previously we have been operating on rudimentary methods warning people to leave the dangerous area without any clear scientific systems of determining the rains but now we have high hope that people live will be saved if the new system works effectively,” said Watenga.
Moses Gidongo, a resident of Bududa expressed fear that the equipment would be vandalized if security is not provided.