Uganda landslide destroys 3 villages, death toll unknown

Uganda officials said landslides induced by torrential rains have destroyed three villages in the east of the country, killing as many as 100 people.

Disaster Preparedness Minister Stephen Mallinga said Monday that it was too early to confirm how many were killed in the landslides, according to the Associated Press.

However, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Michael Richard Nataka told BBC News that 20 have been confirmed dead and that the initial estimate shows that number could rise to 100.

David Wakikona, the local member of parliament, described the situation as "terrible" and also said hundreds were likely killed as mud flowed downhill Monday afternoon, reported the AP.

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"Three villages have been flattened in the Bumwalukani parish on the slopes of Mt. Elgon and the initial reports I have is that more than 100 have been buried," Wakikona told Reuters. "The areas around Bududa district have been experiencing heavy rains for days now and I am told the landslides started around midday today and that they're still going on and some villagers who survived the early slides are fleeing."

The AP also reported that Wakikona said at least 300 people lived in the villages affected by the landslides, and that most of them were inside when huge blocks of mud and rocks started to roll downhill.

According to BBC, at least 24 people were killed last August when similar torrential rains triggered landslides in the Bulambuli district of eastern Uganda. About 100 people also died in a landslide in Bududa in March 2010.