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Uganda: Hundreds feared dead in landslide

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda, Disaster

A mudslide in eastern Uganda Monday evening left at least 80 people dead and over 300 missing. The mudslide, triggered by a day of heavy rain, has buried three villages in Bududa district and displaced more than 2000 people from their homes. As of Wednesday morning, the search continues [1] for survivors.

Uganda's Daily Monitor reports [2] that flooding has been reported throughout the eastern part of the country, forcing schools to close and making roads impassable. The rains are expected to continue, and Reuters reports [3] that Ugandan officials fear flooding and mudslides may affect up to five more districts.

Landslides in eastern Uganda on Monday left three villages covered in mud.  Photo courtesy of Apollo on Facebook. [4]

Landslides in eastern Uganda on Monday left three villages covered in mud. Photo courtesy of Apollo on Facebook [5].

Ugandan blogger Rosebell [6] wonders why the government hasn't done more to move people out of the area:

There are estimated 50,000 people, some occupying the immediate precincts of the extinct volcano, who are regularly exposed to the threat from landslides. Every rainy season there are deaths in this part of Uganda but the only approach has been that of conservation of the national park to relocate people.

There has been no government effort to really try to find other ways to persuade these people and find them alternative livelihoods. In a place where many people depend on farming relocating from the fertile volcanic soils is difficult decision. So they live one day at a time and hope they survive the next rainy season.

In central Uganda, where the rain is less of a threat, Gay Uganda [7] writes:

The rains which I was so guiltily taking joy in are taking a toll on my people. I can only pray. Uh, you know what I mean. I do love rain, but rain comes with its blessings and curses. A bumper harvest may be [8] one thing to be happy about. Terrible loss of life [9]- but, incredibly, life goes on.