herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Grief as mudslides engulf 50 children

MORE than 50 children are feared dead after a landslide engulfed a hospital where they were sheltering from heavy rain.

Avalanches of mud slammed into three villages in Uganda.

Dozens of children, who had been sent to the hospital by elders, are missing.

When Beatrice Nabuduwa's 12-year-old daughter failed to come home after school on Monday, she assumed the child had stayed over at an aunt's because of the rain.

But the grieving mother accepted the reality of the situation yesterday and said she wished God would have taken her life instead.

"In the morning I was shocked to learn that the whole village was under mud," she said in Nametsi, where mud debris towered more than 16ft high in some places. "I have failed to find her or her body."

Rescuers in the remote corner of eastern Ugandan, near the Kenyan border, used hand tools to dig through the thick rivers of mud that engulfed the hospital and buried worshippers as they prayed in a church.

Last night workers found the bodies of six more pupils from the hospital, raising the confirmed death toll to 92, said Kevin Nabutuwa of the Uganda Red Cross.

The president swooped into the villages by helicopter and ordered remaining residents to move away from the sliding hillsides. Military helicopters soon began to airlift them.

At least four people were plucked alive from the wreckage yesterday, two days after the mudslides began, but more than 250 were missing, said Mr Nabutuwa.

hnews@herald.ie

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