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51 die, 300 missing in Bududa landslide

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Residents of Bududa look at what remains after the landslide that buried more than 300 people. Photo by David Mafabi 

By David Mafabi & Agencies

Posted  Tuesday, March 2  2010 at  12:43

In Summary

  • Twenty UPDF soldiers armed with spades and hoes have also arrived in Bududa to help with the retrieval of bodies 
  • Uganda Red Cross Society joins in the rescue
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Mbale

Authorities in Bududa district are digging through heaps of mud in search of survivors and bodies after a landslide swept through an entire village killing more than 50 people on Monday night.

The landslide that was triggered off by a heavy downpour from 12pm to 7pm, began in the Mt Elgon National Park and buried three villages including Nametsi, Namakansa and Kubewo in Namesti parish.

More than 350 people are feared dead and are still missing after the disaster that hit immediately after the downpour. About 45 bodies have been retrieved from the rubble while eight people have been rushed to Bududa Hospital.

Disaster Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere has said that the landslides are expected to continue as the rains intensify in the region.

"Everybody is dead. 320 people are unaccounted for. I don't know if we shall get any survivors out," Minister David Wakikona, MP for Manjiya County in Bududa district has added.

A health worker from a medical centre in the area has been rescued while the search is on to find his colleagues.

Another six bodies have been retrieved from Mabona village, Buheki Sub County after the landslide buried worshippers in a church.

Watira Wilson, the Bududa district chairman says most of the bodies have missing limbs.
Residents who have survived the landslides have been advised to evacuate immediately.

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.

According to the Uganda Red Cross Society Secretary General Mr. Michael Nataka, the distribution of non food items like tarpaulins, blankets, jerrycan, soap, saucepans, cups and plates is to commence immediately to provide survivors with basic needs.

Meanwhile, landslides have also been reported in Sironko in Buluganya village where a cow was washed away but no human beings have been affected.

In Bukwa district, the road has been blocked by mad slides while wide spread flooding has been reported in Butaleja, Budaka, Pallisa, Tororo, Mbale and Manafwa districts.

In Butaleja, 4 sub counties housing 6, 023 households have been affected. They are-Kachonga, Masimasa, Kimuntu, Nawangofu.  Two Primary Schools ( Nabehere & Lubembe in Mazimasa S/C have over flooded affecting school programmes while the Mbale-Busolwa road has over flooded and is now blocked, a statement from the Red Cross says. 

Potential floods are expected in Moroto, Katakwi and Nakapiripirit districts.