A landslide triggered by torrential rains in eastern Uganda has killed at least 34 people, the Ugandan Red Cross has said.

People were killed by boulders and chunks of mud rolling down hills near Mount Elgon following a sustained period of heavy rains on Thursday afternoon, Red Cross spokesperson Irene Nakasiita said.

More victims are likely to be discovered when rescue reams access all the affected areas in the district of Bududa.

Ms Nakasiita described the situation as tense with “community members scared and fleeing from their homes”.

A picture tweeted by the Uganda Red Cross showed uprooted and twisted trees. The aid agency said both “animals and people were swept away in this disaster.”

Relief teams are currently combing the area to search and rescue survivors, Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management Martin Owor said. 

President Yoweri Museveni expressed his condolences for the families of the victims of the disaster on Twitter on Thursday evening. 

He wrote: “I urge residents to cooperate with authorities to mitigate possible further damage.

“The government will look at the other options available to stop further occurrences of these disasters”

The Bududa district in the foothills of Mount Elgon lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya and is a high-risk area for landslides.

At least 100 people died in a landslide in Bududa in 2010 and landslides destroyed three villages in 2012.

The Ugandan government has tried to relocate people over the years without success.

Additional reporting by AP

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