26 June 2012

Uganda: Dozens Still Missing, Army Joins Bududa Rescue Effort

Photo: New Vision
Residents using rudimentary methods to try and recover some bodies

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Tuesday morning joined a team of Uganda Red Cross Society in the excavation of the soil following the Bududa land slide that killed 18 people.

According to Uganda Red Cross Secretary Michael Nataka, 9 people were criticially injured, 72 still missing and 448 people are at a risk as a result of torrential rains that pounded the area.

"UPDF has sent a team to work with us in the excavation of the land," Uganda Red Cross Sopkesperson Catherine Ntabadde said .

By Monday afternnon dozens were feared dead by landslides that swept through four villages in Bulucheke sub-county, Bududa district.

A woman wails on top of a heap of soil where her family members are said to have been buried.

The landslide that occurred at around 2.00pm and about 20 homes were confirmed buried by the mud.

The affected villages include Bunakasala, Bunamulembwa, Mabaya and Walwanyi.

"No fatalities have been confirmed but there will be updates on details as they emerge," a government statement Monday evening quoted the ministry of relief, disaster preparedness and Dr. Stephen Mallinga.

The Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) regional programme manager Stephen Wamukota confirmed nine seriously injured people were rescued and taken to Mbale hospital.

He said efforts to establish the exact number of people killed in the landslide and homes submerged could not bear fruits as they could not dig into the heavy mud.

"We have not managed to achieve much because the mud is too much, we shall resume operations tomorrow morning," Wamukota said at the scene last evening.

Michael Kusolo said his four relatives including a man, his wife and two children were buried in the mud.

He identified them as as Patrick Bwayo, 44, his wife Jessica Bwayo, 35, their children Justin Nandutu, 10 and Phoebe Namone aged 12 years.

A resident of Bunakasala identified as Shaban Hatiya, 68, said all the 12 members of his family were buried by the mud and he survived because he was away from the home at the time of the landslides.

The Bunamulembwa LC1 chairman Stephen Kibalati said it rained heavily in the area for two days.

He expressed fears that this time round, the landslides in the area may be more severe than the ones that occurred there in 2010.

On March 1, 2010 landslide swept through three villages in Nametsi in the same district located on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in eastern Uganda and over 100 people lost their lives.

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