The death toll from Thursday’s landslide disaster in Buduuda on the slopes of Mount Elgon has risen to 25 people, according to the Minister for Disaster Preparedness Hillery Onek.
The landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall, according to Minister Onek. He expressed fear that many more people could have been buried or killed by fast moving storm water and boulders that were triggered by the large volume of water from the national park up on hills.
Our correspondent in Mbale described the mood in the town as so,bre. This is the second biggest landslide since 2001, in which more than 80 were killed.
Minister Onek said the government had embarked on efforts to provide emergence relief.
Wilson Watila the Bududa district chairperson confirmed to this reporter the tragic incident saying more than 50 other people may have been buried by the landslides.
Locals have mounted an operation to retrieve the dead as well as those that may still be alive.
Watila says an estimate of over 150 homes is also believed to have been destroyed in today’s catastrophe in Bukalasi sub-county adding that the affected homes have been buried by fast moving mud.
The scale of the dead is said to be high because the landslides happened in a highly population area with markets, primary schools and several churches. Several crops and livestock have been destroyed.
In a brief statement issued this evening, Irene Nakasita the Public Relations officer of the Uganda Red Cross society Mbale district said that they are expecting the number of deaths to increase.
She said: “The whole district Bududa is still experiencing heavy downpour and we are expecting more landslides in villages located on steep slopes,” she said.
In March 2010, at least 100 people were killed and over 400 people were displaced after a six hour downpour triggered landslides in several villages on the slopes of Mount Elgon.