Uganda landslides destroy three villages
Monday 25 June 2012
Massive landslides induced by torrential rains destroyed three villages in the mountainous district of Bududa in eastern Uganda, killing scores of people but possibly hundreds, officials said today.
Disaster Preparedness Minister Stephen Mallinga said it was still too early to say how many had been killed in today's landslides, but officials from Bududa said the final death toll would likely be in the hundreds.
"We are sending a rescue team down there," Mallinga said. "It's very difficult to estimate how many have been killed, but two villages are affected, and maybe more."
Witnesses said the landslides were unexpected, happening several hours after a torrential overnight downpour that at first seemed to have done little damage.
David Wakikona, a lawmaker from the region, said most people were likely indoors when huge blocks of mud and rocks started to roll down hills, toppling homes, killing livestock and burying people alive.
"We don't yet understand how this all happened, but it's terrible," Wakikona said. "Three villages have been buried."
According to Wakikona, at least 300 people lived in the affected villages. Officials said rescue teams from the Ugandan army would play a lead role in moving the soil as the search for possible survivors begins.
The Uganda Red Cross said two villages had been destroyed and that at least 15 houses had been buried in the landslides. It may take time before the full death toll from such disasters is known, as often it requires rescuers working with hoes and shovels to dig through the mud and find bodies trapped underneath.
Landslides are a common occurrence in the hilly parts of eastern Uganda, and they have been especially lethal over the years in those villages where the land is denuded of vegetation cover. In 2010 massive landslides in Bududa killed about 100 people, destroying everything from the village market to a church.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who visited the scene, said at the time that the landslides were divine retribution for the people's failure to give to the land what they take from it. The villages are usually heavily populated, and often they live on land bare of trees.
There has been fierce resistance to a government effort to relocate the most vulnerable people in Bududa and neighboring districts, with some activists there saying it would be even more disastrous to abandon their ancestral homes. Even those who were relocated to a camp for refugees after the 2010 landslides secretly returned to Bududa, said Mallinga, the disaster preparedness minister.
"There's a degree of unwillingness to leave," Mallinga said.
- 1 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Kate Upton nude photos leak: Model's spokespeople 'looking into' authenticity of indecent images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF, WCF, ASP.NET, Prism...
£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...
£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Nursery Nurse Leeds We are now ...
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...