Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Uganda mudslide victims buried on Mount Elgon


Heavy rains caused the landslide in Bududa district, Uganda

Burials are being held in Uganda for people killed in a mudslide which swept away three villages near the eastern town of Bududa.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali at the scene on the slopes of Mount Elgon said in some cases entire families were being buried.

About 90 bodies have been recovered; more than 260 people are still missing.

The UN says it is supplying tents and plastic sheeting for up to 5,000 people left homeless by the mudslide.

In one village, eyewitnesses said schoolchildren took shelter in a health centre later engulfed by the mud.

Lack of tree cover

Our correspondent says army officers are at the scene trying to recover bodies.

The army says the search operation will take months and that some of the bodies may never be found.


"We're getting bodies six feet to eight feet underground [nearly 2.5m] - making it very hard as the area is muddy and rocky," Lt Col Wilson Kabera - in charge of the recovery operation - told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"We cannot get heavy earth-moving equipment to this point so we're basically using hand-held tools," he said.

Our reporter says continuing heavy rain is hampering the operation.

Whenever a shower starts, people flee the excavation scene fearing further landslides, he says.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni visited the area on Wednesday and said the mudslide was partly due to the loss of tree cover.

The region, about 275km (170 miles) north-east of the capital Kampala, often suffers from landslides but this is an unusually high death toll.

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