At least 34 killed in mud­slides

North Bay Nugget - - WORLD NEWS - Rod­ney Muhu­muza

KAMPALA, uganda — 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 by the mud­slide.

“School chil­dren, those who were drink­ing, mar­ket ven­dors, they were all swept away,” Paul Odoki said.

In March 2010 at least 100 peo­ple died in sim­i­lar mud­slides in bududa, and in­juries or deaths have been re­ported ev­ery year since then dur­ing the wet sea­son.

ef­forts by uganda’s gov­ern­ment over the years to re­lo­cate all res­i­dents away from steep slopes have not suc­ceeded. there also have been calls for peo­ple to plant more trees on steep hill­sides.

The as­so­ci­ated press

Res­i­dents look at a river filled with mud in Bududa, Uganda, on Fri­day, after mud­slides killed at least 34 peo­ple.

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