MBALE —The number of people killed after rivers in Mt Elgon burst their banks, sending a torrent of mud barreling into homes has risen to 15, Red Cross said.
Red Cross, Police and local people rescue teams continued picking through the rubble early on Monday, searching for victims of the floods which took place on Sunday 31 July in Mbale City.
Although thirteen bodies had been recovered by 6.00pm last evening, an unknown number of people still remained missing.
“We recovered about thirteen people and this morning we have just retrieved two bodies of male adults in Nabuyonga River but we’re still going ahead to search, trying to look for whether there are other bodies in the riverbed somewhere,” said Mr Ahmad Washaki, the RCC Mbale.
Some of the survivors who spoke of panic and horror as River Nabuyonga cascaded down could not hide their emotions as they occasionally would burst into tears.
“The moment we were swept by the floods, we knew death had come so we started struggling to swim and get hold of anything in our reach, we even climbed trees and saw many bodies being swept away,’ said KenethWaniala aka Ken, a survivor and a driver of one of the vehicles [Toyota Wish] that was swept by the floods.
Police and residents have teamed up to retrieve the super custom from the river. The efforts have taken longer due to the lack of equipment. Currently, the police and residents are using ropes to pull the vehicle from the river.
Unconfirmed reports show that the deceased were heading to Kabwangasi sub-county in Butebo district from Kampala for an introduction ceremony.
Heavy rains in Mt Elgon hilly areas in eastern Uganda triggered flooding that burst the river banks of Nabuyonga, Namatala [Mbale] and Chebonet in Kapchorwa submerged homes and roads, killing at least 13 people.
Pictures and videos of the scenes at Nabuyonga river showed terrified people squirming for safety as water levels rose in Mbale City suburbs of Maluku, Namatala, Busajjabwankuba, Nkoma, Bugema, toppling houses and felling banana trees.
Reports from the rescue teams indicate that the death toll is likely to rise, with survivors saying that they spotted bodies going passed them as they struggled to save their lives.
The Uganda Prime minister Ms Robinah Nabanja who responded immediately said the disaster had been caused by environmental degradation.
“How many people are going to die like this, we must respect nature, we must protect our environment?” said Ms Nabanja.