Mud­slides kill dozens

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS WEATHER -

At least 34 peo­ple died in mud­slides trig­gered by tor­ren­tial rains in a moun­tain­ous area of east­ern Uganda that is prone to such dis­as­ters, a Red Cross of­fi­cial said Fri­day.

More vic­tims were likely to be dis­cov­ered when res­cue reams ac­cess all the af­fected ar­eas in the foothills of Mount El­gon, said Red Cross spokes­woman Irene Nakasi­ita.

Peo­ple were killed by boul­ders and chunks of mud rolling down hills fol­low­ing a sus­tained pe­riod of heavy rains Thurs­day af­ter­noon in the dis­trict of Bududa. Houses were de­stroyed in at least three vil­lages, and in some cases only body parts of the vic­tims have been re­cov­ered from the mud, she said.

“We ex­pect the death toll to in­crease as some peo­ple are still miss­ing,” she said. “It’s re­ally bad.”

A river that runs through the area burst its banks, de­stroy­ing a bridge and threat­en­ing set­tle­ments nearby, ac­cord­ing to Martin Owor, a govern­ment com­mis­sioner in charge of dis­as­ter man­age­ment.

At least 31 bod­ies had been re­cov­ered and iden­ti­fied, Owor said.

It was dif­fi­cult to es­tab­lish the num­ber of dead be­cause it had been a busy mar­ket day, law­maker God­frey Watenga Nabu­tanyi of Luteshe County told broad­caster NTV. “Bridges are gone. Roads have been cut off.” Lo­cal of­fi­cial Wil­son Watila es­ti­mated that about 100 houses had been swept away.

Res­i­dents wept over re­cov­ered bod­ies, while men dug into the mud with blunt pieces of wood in des­per­ate ef­forts to find oth­ers. One sur­vivor de­scribed run­ning to safety with a friend af­ter spot­ting a house be­ing wiped away.

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