Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA'S RAMAPHOSA HAILS 'NEW DAWN' IN STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A controversial Chinese New Year

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

New Beginning? Ramaphosa Replaces Zuma in South Africa

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

On the green slopes: An eco-friendly revolution in French ski resorts?

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The Élysée palace, France's presidential powerhouse

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Is the aviation industry free-riding on climate change efforts?

Read more

FOCUS

The revival of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Girls in Malawi victims of 'sexual cleansing' ritual

Read more

REVISITED

Video: How the 2014 Winter Olympics transformed Sochi

Read more

Africa

Hundreds missing after landslide buries villages

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-03

Rescuers are scrambling to pull bodies from the mud after a landslide triggered by torrential rain buried entire villages in eastern Uganda, leaving at least 80 people dead and scores more still missing.

REUTERS - A landslide in eastern Uganda has killed at least 80 people and villagers are digging with bare hands and simple tools in the hope of finding survivors, a government minister and Ugandan media said on Tuesday.

Ugandan media said the landslide engulfed a village in the eastern Bududa district on the foothills of Mt Elgon on Monday night after a seven-hour downpour.

"The latest reports I have indicate 80 bodies have been pulled out," Tarsis Kabwegyere, Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, told Reuters.

The local NTV channel showed mud and wattle houses flattened by viscous earth and wailing villagers piling bodies on a grassy compound.

"About 300 people are feared buried by the landslide and the landslides are expected to continue as the rains intensify in the region," he told Reuters earlier on Tuesday.

Kabwegyere said a government response team was on the ground with food and the Red Cross had sent doctors. Police and volunteers were also helping in the rescue.

Parts of Uganda and neighbouring Kenya have had sustained rain for much of the past two months, which is usually a dry period between rainy seasons.

Local MP David Wakikoona told Reuters villagers had told him about 100 to 150 people were at a trading centre when huge rocks slid down the hillsides, transported by mud. Only eight people were known to have survived so far, he said.

"So in all likelihood the death toll will be more than a 100," he said.

Rumbling

The legislator said residents were using shovels, hoes and their bare hands to dig through mounds of earth to retrieve buried neighbours.

They periodically scrambled to safer ground, fearing more mudslides, when rumbling was heard from the top of the hills.

"There's no medical personnel whatsoever on the ground and we have already told the government," he said.

Kabwegyere told parliament earlier on Tuesday mudslides were feared in five other districts currently experiencing deluges. Floods are already plaguing large areas.

In the eastern Bududa landslide, a health centre was buried along with a nurse and three support staff, he told parliament.

He said three villages with more than 3,000 residents were badly hit. The hamlets cling to isolated mountainsides with no proper road access, making rescue efforts difficult.

Nearly 24 hours after the tragedy, earth movers and other equipment that could bolster rescue efforts were unable to reach the area, he said.

Date created : 2010-03-02

COMMENT(S)