Dar es Salaam. Authorities from several parts of Tanzania are taking stoke of damages that ongoing heavy rains in the East African country have caused to people, households, communities and infrastructure as calls for preparedness to respond to unfriendly weather patterns gather steam.
For almost two weeks now, heavy rains have been reported from several parts of the country as the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) warns that more downpours should be expected, cautioning about potential flooding in certain areas and disruptions to economic activities.
The government’s Disaster Management Department, under the Prime Minister’s Office, is yet to release a report on the damages that the ongoing rains have done to communities, but the picture emerging from isolated local and district reports is grim.
The torrential rainfalls experienced since the start of November have created havoc. The flooding triggered by the constant downpour is destroying bridges and roads, setting houses under water and now, sadly, also claiming lives.
In Arusha, at least ten people died during the course of the weekend, leaving 90 other households displaced following a seven-hour deluge, with infrastructure like bridges and roads damaged.
The Muriet, Terrat, Elerai and Morombo areas have been hit the hardest, according to the Arusha urban district commissioner Felician Mtahengerwa, quoted in the Daily News report saying: “Many households have been affected by the rains, and we are still figuring out how to help the homeless.”
Other regions are also severely affected. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, several bridges linking the city and its suburbs have been swept away, causing traffic jams and more serious disruptions to the daily life of residents.
Among the damaged infrastructure is the Jangwani bridge, a construction which is prone to flooding. This newest incident led President Samia Suluhu Hassan to announce on Monday a redesign of the project to build a new bridge.
According to the government, this return to the drawing board should ensure that the new bridge will end the constant flooding.
“We do not want to have regrets in the future, but we want to find a long-term solution,” Works Minister Innocent Bashungwa was quoted as saying.
In the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, authorities have also had to up their efforts in responding to damages caused by the deluge.
Photos on the social media platform X show officials from the Tanzanian Red Cross Society inspecting damaged buildings in the Mjini Magharibi Region on the island.
TMA has predicted that the coming months will most likely bring additional periods of heavy rain as it expects the rain to last till April next year. 14 Regions are expected to receive normal or above-normal rainfall.
The current rainy season is amplified by the global El Niño weather phenomenon, which usually brings wetter conditions to large parts of Eastern Africa. Heavy rains and flooding are currently also reported from Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Malawi.
Based on this rather grim meteorological outlook, authorities have been urged to put in place proper mechanisms that would allow them to respond to disasters timely to save lives and households from the effects of the downpour.
Marc Bürgi reports for The Chanzo from Dar es Salaam. He is available at email@example.com.