At least 80 dead in Ugandan mudslide – UN

3 March 2010

Landslides triggered by torrential rainfall in eastern Uganda have claimed at least 80 lives, with over 300 others listed as missing, the United Nations humanitarian arm reported today.

Heavy rains on the slopes of Mount Elgon, on Uganda’s border with Kenya, have buried three densely-populated villages, home to more than 3,000 people, in Nametsi Parish, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UN and its partners today dispatched two teams – comprising representatives from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others – to assess the situation.

UNICEF has also provided the Ugandan Health Ministry with two emergency health kits and 100 body bags.

The Ugandan Government is leading the humanitarian response and has not requested assistance from UN Disaster and Coordination (UNDAC) teams or search-and-rescue missions.

The disaster area is currently only accessible by foot or air due to its remoteness and lack of any serviceable roads, and the mudslides buried a health centre.

OCHA said that immediate health needs include first aid and support in accessing medical facilities.

According to early indications, some 10,000 people could be instructed to move by the Government due to concerns over further rains and landslides.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have distributed blankets, tarpaulins, tents and other supplies, while the Government has dispatched 26 metric tons of food, with more set to follow.

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