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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid