At least 30 people died when a landslide ravaged a town in Uganda, Al Jazeera reports.

The landslide happened on Thursday after a river’s banks burst due to heavy rainfall in the Budada area.

"I can confirm 34 people are dead. We have to wait for our assessment to be completed before we can say how many are missing," said Uganda Red Cross spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita. "The cause was the river bursting its banks upstream following heavy rain. When the water flowed down it brought a number of big stones with it that destroyed people's houses.”

The last major landslide in the area killed 300 people in 2010, according to the BBC. Residents have been asked to relocate, but many were reluctant to leave the mountainous region due to its fertile soil.  

Farmers who cut down trees to plant crops might have made rising waters in the river worse, contributing to the slides.

“People survive by growing their own food, and a steadily growing population over many years has increased the demand for farmland," Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb said. "People have had to cut down trees and remove vegetation so they have space to grow their crops. It's the roots of those trees that hold these fragile slopes together."

Nathan Tumuhamye, director of an organization dedicated to disaster relief, said "four to five villages” and a school were affected by the disaster.

Martin Owor, the commissioner for disaster preparedness and management, said search parties are still looking for survivors and missing citizens. He worries additional rain may complicate rescue efforts.

"Many more are missing, feared dead, we are reaching the peak of the second rainy season and it rained very heavily today," he said. "There are people who were displaced and they need shelter, food and all other support and we're moving that relief to the area."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni expressed his condolences and shared the government’s plans for assistance on Twitter:

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