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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid