Rescue workers in Uganda said there are still more than 70 people missing in a landslide that happened overnight.
At least 20 people are confirmed dead after three villages were destroyed in the Mount Elgon area in eastern Uganda’s Bududa District, according to the New Vision newspaper.
Uganda Red Cross Secretary Michael Nataka said 72 people are missing and 448 more are at risk due to the torrential rains that have inundated the region. Many of those missing are feared dead.
Around 400,000 people will be relocated by the Ugandan government from the Mt. Elgon region, which could take up to six months, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported.
“We shall pass a law to have these people relocated and after the mountain has been rehabilitated and no longer at risk of landslides those who want can go back to their land,” Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Stephen Malinga told the publication.
When the rains hit the area, locals did not inform officials of potential warning signs, said Rose Bwenvu, an assistant with the country’s disaster management agency.
“The population could hear the creaking sounds and the cracks forming but people took it lightly and did not inform the authorities,” Bwenvu said.
Rachael Namwono, 29, a local, said that at least 30 homes with around 300 people in Mabaya Village were completely buried by the landslide.
At midday, “The ground trembled, followed by heavy rumbling of soil and stones which covered our home,” Namwono told the Monitor.
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