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300 feared dead in Uganda landslides

Up to 300 people are feared dead after heavy rain triggered landslides that swept through villages on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Uganda, officials said on Tuesday.

world Updated: Mar 02, 2010 17:56 IST

Up to 300 people are feared dead after heavy rain triggered landslides that swept through villages on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Uganda, officials said on Tuesday.

The chairman of the eastern Bududa district, Wilson Watira, told DPA that mud and boulders crashed through homes and health centres overnight in the villages of Nameti, Kubewo and Nankobe.

Watira said that rescuers had recovered between 40 and 50 bodies, but that he expected the death toll to increase.

"We estimate that 300 people died," Watira said. "As I speak, we are trying to rescue people. All the houses are buried and it is difficult to recover all the dead bodies from the rubble because we have no excavators.

"The situation is terrible."

The minister for the northern region, David Wakikona, who rushed to the scene, said that at least 10,000 people have been displaced.

The government is mobilising aid and rescue equipment, including excavators to help alleviate the situation.

Landslides often occur on Elgon and also the mountains of the Ruwenzori range on the other side of the country during heavy rains, but this is by far the most serious incident in recent times.