News / Africa

    Rains, Mudslides Displace Thousands in Eastern Uganda

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Some of the worst rains and flooding in recent years to strike eastern Uganda have triggered a massive landslide that has left thousands of people homeless.  Devastating mudslides from Mount Elgon near the Uganda-Kenya border engulfed three villages in the Bududa district, 275 kilometers from the capital, Kampala. The flows spurred a quick response from government officials, who sent army engineers to the inundated region, and from the United Nations, which has supplied  emergency tents and plastic sheeting. 

    But impassible roads have stymied the rescue effort.  At least 87 bodies have been recovered, with some 300 people, including 100 students, still missing.  U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba says that until impaired gateways to the region become more accessible, the human toll will not be clear.

     “In the district of Bududa, there are three villages that are completely under the mud.  People have not been accounted for yet.  The government is still carrying out assessment missions to find out how many they could possibly rescue, how many are missing, and how many are dead,” she advised.

    Rains, Mudslides Displace Thousands in Eastern Uganda
    Rains, Mudslides Displace Thousands in Eastern Uganda

    Lejeune-Kaba says that the U.N.’s emergency relief role is a limited one that stems from its presence already in the region and its stockpile of usable supplies.

    “Our involvement is purely on humanitarian grounds.  We are already in Uganda.  We have been helping refugees.  We have been helping sometimes the internally displaced.  And because this is an emergency, because we have stocks available, that is why we are getting involved.  But this is not an area where UNHCR is normally active,” said Lejeune-Kaba.

    Usual precipitation levels in January and February are quite low in Uganda in between customary rainy seasons.  But this year, the El Nino cyclical weather phenomenon, that generates warm fronts from overheating ocean currents in the South Pacific halfway around the globe, also is fomenting  relentless rains in eastern Uganda and locations in Kenya and Ethiopia.  UNHCR spokesperson Lejeune-Kaba says Kampala officials are quite vigilant in responding to the daunting pressures posed by the turbulence.

    The waters of eastern Uganda are known to flood in active rainy seasons. The 2010 flooding, reportedly sparked by El Nino, began after the end of the rainy season.
    The waters of eastern Uganda are known to flood in active rainy seasons. The 2010 flooding, reportedly sparked by El Nino, began after the end of the rainy season.

    “The government was pretty quick in going to the affected areas.  They can’t get heavy machinery in there to try, maybe, to rescue survivors.  The rains are continuing.  They are expected to last at least for another month.  And so that compounds all the suffering, already being experienced by the population, who have lost all their properties.  They have lost everything, probably family members as well,” she said.

    The previous devastating floods to hit eastern Uganda two and a half years ago in September, 2007, uprooted 200,000 people and were also said to be a product of an El Nino cycle. 

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora