At least 41 people have died in mudslides caused by heavy rains in the Bududa district of Uganda, officials said Friday.
Many more people, including children, are believed to still be buried, district chairperson Wilson Watira said, after a river overflowed its banks on Thursday afternoon.
The rushing Tsuume River near eastern Uganda’s Mount Elgon sent muddy water coursing through the Naposhi and Nalutungu public markets and washed away everything in its path.
One elementary school was among the buildings flattened by the impact of the water.
Large boulders rolled through the impacted areas after a four-hour rainstorm and “and a landslide up the mountain,” Ugandan disaster preparedness commissioner Martin Owor said in a statement.
“It rolled big boulders through a village in Bukalasi sub-county, killing several people.”
At least 500 people have been displaced and need shelter and food, local officials said.
“I have received the sad news of landslides wreaking havoc in Bududa district, killing a yet-to-specified number of residents,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said from a conference in London. “The government has dispatched rescue teams to the affected areas. I urge residents to cooperate with authorities to mitigate possible further danger.”
Owor said nearby bridges were washed out by the rains, hampering recovery efforts.
A federal government disaster team, local police and the Red Cross are aiding survivors.