Image: Mud around home
Peter Busomoke  /  AFP-Getty Images
Mud from a landslide surrounds a home in Bududa, Uganda, on Wednesday.
updated 3/5/2010 10:15:17 AM ET 2010-03-05T15:15:17

Heavy rains in eastern Uganda have triggered flooding that has displaced more than 20,000 people and hampered search efforts to find victims of massive landslides feared to have killed hundreds, officials said Thursday.

Persistent heavy rains since early in the week have flooded more than 30 villages in the country's east, leading to the displacement of more than 20,000 people, said Joel Aguma, the police commander for eastern Uganda.

Villagers have headed to higher ground and are waiting for assistance from aid groups and the government, he said.

Rains on Monday triggered massive landslides that buried three villages in the Bududa region, burying what officials believe to be several hundred people. Rescuers have recovered 92 bodies so far but were unable to continue searching Thursday because of the rain, said Kevin Nabutuwa of the Uganda Red Cross.

"Thousands of people have been displaced by floods. We are advising them to relocate to high, dry areas as we mobilize for assistance," said Dorothy Florence Hyuha, a member of parliament from eastern Uganda.

An official from the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness said a rescue team has been sent to affected areas.

The landslides late Monday and Tuesday buried a village hospital where more than 50 students had taken refuge. All are believed to have died. The landslides wiped out whole villages, burying homes, the school and a church.

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