At least 25 people were found dead including four children after a river burst its banks in eastern Uganda Thursday after heavy rains, sending muddy water coursing through a market, a government official said.
“Many more are missing, feared dead,” in the town of Bukalasi in the Bududa district, Martin Owor, Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness, told AFP.
“We are reaching the peak of the second rainy season and it rained very heavily today.”
Earlier the Uganda Red Cross said in a statement that at least seven people had been buried after a “massive landslide” in Bukalasi.
“The preliminary report indicates that the number is likely to increase from the reported seven but we are yet to establish the actual numbers,” Uganda Red Cross spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita said in a statement.
Nakasiita described the situation as tense with “community members… scared and fleeing from their homes.”
She shared photos of the scene on WhatsApp, including images of dismembered corpses caked in mud laid out by the river.
Some of the bodies have been partly covered with banana leaves by members of the public.
Owor said however that there was no landslide. “A river which burst its banks in Bukalasi swept through a trading centre,” he said.
Bududa district in the foothills of Mount Elgon, which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya, is a high risk area for landslides.
At least 100 people were reported killed in a landslide in Bududa in March 2010 and in 2012 landslides destroyed three villages.
Government efforts to move vulnerable people to neighbouring districts have faced resistance from residents.