At least 43 people have been killed and 21 others injured Thursday, October 11, 2018, after what officials described as 'massive landslide' hit eastern Uganda's Bududa district. The event reportedly affected 4 villages. This mountainous region is currently in its rainy season, running from September to December.
The slide took place after heavy rainfall and the disaster also involved a river bursting its banks in the town of Bukulasi of the district, flooding its marketplace. The slide swept away both people and animals and destroyed homes and farms.
A regional police spokesperson said most of the recovered bodies came from waterways that are running from the mountains.
"Most of the people were caught at the market, the landslide pushed huge boulders into a river which burst its banks and the water swept away the people," Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management Martin Owor told Reuters. "Many more are missing, feared dead, we are reaching the peak of the second rainy season and it rained very heavily today," said Owor.
Uganda Red Cross spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita shared photos of the scene of what she described as a "massive landslide" on WhatsApp, including images of dismembered corpses caked in mud laid out by the river.
Map of area affected by the landslide in Bududa district, Eastern #Uganda. 7 feared buried, dozens vacate their homes for safety. @UgandaRedCross response action teams deployed. #BududaLandSlides2018 @UgandaRedCross @IFRCAfrica @nbstv @ntvuganda @newvisionwire @CapitalFMUganda pic.twitter.com/zyaDDhBKfP— Irene Nakasiita (@inakasiita1) October 11, 2018
Heavy rains devastate #Bududa district in Eastern #Uganda. Mudslide burries 7, numbers expected to grow as heavy rains continue to fall. @UgandaRedCross assessment and rescue team team on ground. @cgtnafrica @nbstv @ntvuganda @newvisionwire @DailyMonitor @IFRCAfrica #IDRR18 pic.twitter.com/ZCqnIH7hyc— Irene Nakasiita (@inakasiita1) October 11, 2018
When we asked for her name, she couldn't say it. She was traumatised. She only stared at us. Thanks to @UgandaRedCross rescue team that saved her life. She was burried under the debris.— Irene Nakasiita (@inakasiita1) October 12, 2018
She survived among the many who were washed by strong running water #BududaLandSlides2018 pic.twitter.com/D0uc2777yS
The government urges residents of the area to cooperate with authorities to avoid further danger. It has also dispatched relief supplies those affected.
The same district was hit by another massive landslide in March 2010, killing at least 100 people.
Reuters said large swaths of the slopes of Ugandan mountains have been denuded of their forests and other vegetation cover for cultivable land, increasing the risk of landslides.
There were plans to move people away from some of the most vulnerable areas, but the plan never came to life.
Featured image credit: CGTN