The Ugandan Red Cross says the death toll could jump when rescue reams access all the affected areas in the foothills of Mountain Elgon in Bududa district.

Relief teams are combing the area to search and rescue survivors.
Relief teams are combing the area to search and rescue survivors. (Twitter/@GKRukundo)

At least 34 people have died in mudslides triggered by torrential rains in a mountainous area of eastern Uganda that is prone to such disasters, the Ugandan Red Cross said on Friday. 

Red Cross spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita said that more victims are likely to be discovered when rescue reams access all the affected areas in the foothills of Mountain Elgon.

She said people were killed by boulders and chunks of mud rolling down hills following a sustained period of heavy rains on Thursday afternoon in the district of Bududa.

In March 2010 at least 100 people died in similar mudslides in the district.

Efforts by Uganda's government over the years to relocate people have not succeeded.

Prone to landslides 

"Most of the people were caught at the trading centre, the landslide pushed huge boulders into a river which burst its banks and the water swept away the people," Martin Owor, Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management, said.

The area, about 250km from the capital, Kampala, is close to the border with Kenya and is prone to landslides.

Relief teams are now combing the area to search and rescue survivors, Owor said.

"There are people who were displaced and they need shelter, food and all other support and we're moving that relief to the area," he added. 

Source: Reuters