Torrential rains in Uganda, 26 killed, says Red Cross

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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — At least 26 people have been killed in floods unleashed by heavy rains in different parts of Uganda, the Red Cross said on Monday as authorities urged people in affected areas to relocate.

Seventeen flooding deaths have been confirmed in the western district of Bundibugyo. Another nine people have died in the mountainous districts of Sironko and Bududa in the east, where residents also face mudslides that can destroy entire enclaves, said Irene Nakasiita, a spokeswoman for the Uganda Red Cross.

Ugandan government officials have acknowledged the continuing threat from flooding and say relief is forthcoming to affected areas. Residents are being urged to move away from areas where rivers and streams have burst their banks.

More than 6,000 people have been displaced in Bududa, a rugged area in the foothills of Mount Elgon where mudslides have killed hundreds of people over the years. Some there have resisted the government’s attempts to have them relocated to lowlands elsewhere, saying they find it hard to vacate their ancestral lands.

“The risk of more flooding and landslides is real,” Musa Ecweru, the government minister in charge of disasters, said in a statement Thursday.

Hundreds of acres of plantations have been destroyed and an unknown number of livestock lost in the flooding and mudslides in Bududa and Sironko, Ecweru said.

In March 2010 at least 100 people died in mudslides in Bududa, and injuries or deaths have been reported every year since then during the wet season.

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This story was corrected to show that the spelling of Uganda’s minister in charge of disaster response is Ecweru.

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