Scores of people have been left homeless and an unknown number of people feared to have been buried after landslides ravaged several villages in Bududa district, East of Uganda.
The landslides are said to have been caused by the running waters from River Suume which burst its banks as a result of heavy rainfall on Thursday. The affected villages are in Bukalasi sub-county.
The Bududa district Chairperson, Wilson Watila reported that over 17 dead bodies have so far been recovered, but the number could rise.
Watila said that 90 to 100 homes which are situated closer to the river are estimated to have been destroyed
“Seven people are buried by the landslides. Other people have been swept by running water, but we can’t establish the number so far,” Irene Nakasita, the Public Relations Officer for Uganda Red Cross told this website.
“People are scared and moving away from their homes. They are likely to shelter in the nearby schools,” she added.
She said that due to the heavy downpour the earth was very soggy making it extremely risky for the rescue teams from Red Cross to access part of the affected area.
The Police deputy spokesperson, SP Patrick Onyango also put the known death toll at 17 (bodies recovered) but said that the death toll is likely to rise.
“The rain is still raining and more bodies are being searched for. We have dispatched a team to make an assessment and understand what equipment will be needed for the search and rescue operation,” Onyango said.
This is not the first time Bududa district is affected by landslides. The area which is situated in the mountainous region has perennially suffered landslide disasters leaving hundreds of people displaced. In 2010, landslides in the district killed about 300 people.
Government has continuously appealed to residents who inhabit the slopes of the mountains to relocate to lowlands however, many who have built their livelihood in Bududa have been hesitant.
The district Chairperson asked government to put in place restrictions for people who live in close proximity with River Suume.