updated 9/14/2007 8:15:50 AM ET 2007-09-14T12:15:50

The heaviest rainfall in 35 years has displaced some 150,000 people in eastern Uganda since August and the rain has been "worsening by the hour," authorities said Friday.

Up to 400,000 people have lost their livelihoods — and 150,000 of them have been displaced — by severe flooding in eastern Uganda, State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru said.

Nine people had died after being washed away by flood water or struck by lightening during violent storms. Ecweru said the death toll was expected to rise with rain still falling across large areas of the affected region.

Ecweru said around 150,000 people had to move after being caught between rising flood waters.

"For the other 250,000 or thereabouts there is nothing in the kitchen. Their crops have been destroyed," said Ecweru. "The floods are worsening by the hour — for the last 48 hours the rain continues falling."

According to the United Nations, rainfall since July has been the heaviest in 35 years for many parts of eastern Uganda.

Ecweru said that the joint aid effort by the Ugandan government and the United Nations was being hampered by limited access with roads and bridges submerged in many areas. He said that three boats and four helicopters were being brought to Uganda by the United Nations on Monday to help deliver emergency aid including food, fresh water, tarpaulins and medication.

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