OVERVIEW

Thank you so much for taking time to look at our blog! We are a group of edical students who are passionate about training and in underserved areas. This January and February, we are in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica internationally as well as locally in Flint and Lansing completing volunteer service, rotating in hospitals and clinics, and learning about international medicine and local underserved health care. We appreciate any time you take to read our reflections and any donations you might offer.

Please click the “Donate” link on the side for more details on how to give directly to these communities.


Monday, February 11

The Landslide Event


Six months ago, the Bumwalukani Landslide killed at least seven people and displaced nearly eighty others. Twenty people lost their homes and many more their farmland.



In response, the community came together to help those affected. FIMRC’s Beatrice Tierney Clinic offered free medical care to 63 families for the six months following the landslide. For the past week, my classmates and I have been visiting these families to determine whether the free care should be continued past the initial period, which ends this Wednesday. All of the families initially relocated to Shelter Box emergency relief tents at the base of the mountain. Many have now moved back to the area of the landslide. We spent the day walking along narrow trails through the Bumwalukani mountainside and were able to interact with all but four of the 63 families on the list. We gathered information about their access to latrines and clean drinking water, use of the clinic, and reasons for moving back to the landslide area.

I knew very little about landslides or their impact on a community before coming to Bududa. We learned that over-farming and erosion are primary causes of landslides in Uganda and other rural, agricultural areas. After the initial disaster, the untouched land lining the landslide site is known as the “danger zone” and the chance of a second event is much greater in this area. That is why the families living in this “danger zone” were provided with emergency tents away from the site. It is also why we were shocked to find that, six months later, nearly every family whose home was not completely destroyed had moved back. When we spoke with the families, we discovered there was a common reason for this migration back to the “danger zone”: hunger. The families could not afford to continue to buy food at the base of the mountain. They moved back to the landslide site so they could once again live on their farms and gardens, close to their food source.

Tomorrow we are planning an event to provide food and soap for handwashing to the families affected. We will also be collecting their free healthcare cards. None of the families were dealing with landslide-related illnesses, though for some the cost of healthcare was large when combined with the new costs the landslide had forced on them. Fortunately, we found that most of the families had begun to find their footing again and were able to make a living. In the end, we had to balance the resources of the clinic with the families’ needs, and felt the free healthcare was no longer justified. Fortunately, the clinic model is one that provides free care to children, so access should not be too greatly affected.

2 comments:

  1. you are doing an awesome job meeting the challenges of your experience! We are so proud of you and your compassionate, diligent work! We miss you but are glad you are having such an excellent experience! Go Green! Dr. S

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  2. Hi folks, 1st let me congratulate you for the wonderful work you have been doing around different countries. I'm Pedro from Lima-PerĂº and I would like to contact one of you to exchange information about your visit in Huaraz (2011). Looking forward to hearing from you! Chau

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