Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Landslides - this time it's Uganda

The latest country to be hit by landslides caused by heavy rain is Uganda. More than 300 people are feared dead in the mountainous Bududa region about 170 miles from Kampala.

Because roads are blocked, mechanical diggers cannot get through to the stricken villages, and rescuers are having to work with their bare hands. President Museveni has criticised farmers for stripping hillsides and residents for building on flood planes.

One survivor said he was in a church when mud suddenly engulfed it. The five people sitting next to him were killed, but he managed to keep his head above the mud. The region often suffers from landslides, but this one is unusually deadly, and more heavy rain is forecast. (See also my blogs of April 17, Oct 10, Nov 12 and 19, 2009, and Feb 21, 2010)

This day….66 years ago saw perhaps the world’s weirdest ever rail disaster. There was no collision, no derailment. Instead a train became stranded in a tunnel in the Italian Apennine mountains because of ice on the track, and more than 520 people – almost everyone on board – died from carbon monoxide poisoning. For the story see A Disastrous History of the World.

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