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Over 50 feared dead as landslide hits eastern Uganda


08:41, August 30, 2011

KAMPALA, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- A wave of landslides on Monday hit three villages in the eastern Ugandan district of Bulambuli leaving over 50 people feared dead.

As of Monday evening local radio stations reported that 29 nine bodies had been exhumed with the minister of state for disaster preparedness, relief and refugees Musa Ecweru reporting that the number of the causalities is likely to go up.

Humanitarian and government search and rescue teams were on the scene digging up the mud in search for bodies and possible survivors.

The landslides triggered by torrential rainfall swept away 16 homesteads in Mabono village in Sisiyi Sub County and Meru village, Sot Parish, Buluganya Sub County. Another landslide buried six homesteads in Lusha Sub County but no person was buried or killed.

“We sympathize and stand with the people of Bulambuli. We will treat the victims and decently bury the dead,” he said.

Hundreds of hectares of sweat potatoes, maize and vegetables were damaged. The number of livestock and chicken lost is also unknown.

This is the second spate of landslides in the region in less than a month. However last year in March the region was hit by a devastating landslide that left at least 200 people dead and tens of thousands of others homeless.

Government at a news conference in the capital Kampala warned that more landslides are likely to occur as the torrential rainfall intensifies. The most prone areas are the hilly and mountainous areas in eastern and western Uganda.

“We are also experiencing hailstorms and destructive strong winds in much of western Uganda and parts of Buganda in central Uganda. We expect floods in most of the low laying areas in eastern and mid northwestern Uganda. Much of Teso (eastern Uganda) is already water logged and five sub counties in Butaleja district,” Ecweru said.

He said that the survivors of the current landslides and those at high risk are being registered for relocation to safe homes.

“Government plans to procure land every year and resettle 10,000 people from these risky areas,” Ecweru said.

Experts attribute the frequent landslides to the increasing population leading to the cutting down of trees on the slopes of Mount Elgon shared by Uganda and Kenya. Last year the experts warned that a 40km long crack had development on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Manafwa district, threatening about 8,000 residents in eight sub-counties.


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