Miners in Wakiso and surrounding areas risk their lives in quarries with limited space to eke out a living.
Five bodies have been retrieved after part of the quarry caved in at Nganjo Village, Namulanda Ward, Kajjansi Town Council in Wakiso District.
The dead have been identified as Abdu Nsumba, 35, a driver of a truck, Ronald Kaggwa, 30, Vincent Kasule, Junior Irumba, 24, and Posiano Lubogo.
Kampala Metropolitan police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said Nsumba had on Saturday gone to load stones from the quarry while the others were casual workers.
“The rescue teams are still at the quarry excavating to establish whether there are more people trapped in the debris. The five bodies that were retrieved from the debris have been taken to morgue for a post-mortem,” Mr Owoyesigyire said yesterday.
The Kampala metropolitan area has several stone quarries that employ thousands of people, but they have become a threat to the neighbors and even the workers operating in them.
Stone business in the city is lucrative given the high demand for materials in the construction sector.
The demand has seen miners risk their lives even in quarries with limited space to eke out a living from the business.
The miners, using handheld tools, have resorted to digging deeper in the quarries despite employing no safety measures.
Incidents of quarries collapsing have increased from 14 in 2020 to 38 last year, according to the police crime and road safety report of 2021.
“We, however, advise members of the public in the surrounding area to avoid moving to the quarry as it is currently a threat to the lives of those occupying it,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.
By press time yesterday, police had not established the owners of the Namulanda quarry.
Both the central government and local governments don’t have laid down regulations that govern the stone miners and their practices.
Mr Owoyesigyire said they are getting many reports of quarries caving in during the rainy season.
In May, a quarry in Muyenga in Makindye Division caved in and killed four people.
Despite police and Kampala Capital City Authority officials promising to enforce standards on mining, nothing much has been done.
The miners still dig up stones as they did before last year’s incidents.