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47 Dead Following Heavy Rain that Caused Mudslides in Hanang, Tanzania

Forty-seven people have lost their lives, with more feared dead, as a result of heavy rainfall triggering mudslides in Hanang, Tanzania

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Forty-seven people have lost their lives, with more feared dead, as a result of heavy rainfall triggering mudslides in Hanang, Tanzania—an area within the Manyara region, situated in the northern part of the country.

The mudslides, originating from the Hanang mountain, struck Katesh town in Hanang around 5 a.m. This catastrophic event followed persistent rain that commenced at approximately 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Philipo Wayi, Secretary of Galana Hamlet, one of the severely affected areas in Hanang, vividly described the horrifying experience: “We heard a loud bang, something like an earthquake, followed by cries from fellow community members.”

Areas were houses were located before the mudslides

The impact of the mudslides was so devastating that numerous properties, including houses and business areas, were obliterated. Cars, motorcycles, and other belongings were swept away.

Queen Sendiga, the Regional Commissioner of Manyara, provided updates on the grim situation: “Up to now, we have recovered 47 bodies, and approximately 85 individuals who sustained injuries are receiving emergency care in our hospitals.” She added that the whereabouts of 28 households remain unknown.

To address the crisis, Sendiga announced the establishment of camps in various areas and urged residents living near the mountain to take cover in the camps due to the anticipated continuation of heavy rain.

Throughout the morning, civilians spearheaded rescue activities, later joined by emergency service teams.

Dankan Dominic, Executive Director of HALISO, a local NGO based in Hanang, shared his experiences of rescuing families and providing shelter in his home. He highlighted the overwhelming conditions in hospitals, “Rescue operations are ongoing, but more people remain trapped. Healthcare facilities are stretched, with patients sharing beds and others sleeping on the ground.”

Rescue effort are still not adequate,  Wensces Daus, shared his experience on  some affected areas, “Galana A na Joto Mkati, near the mountain, has not received any support,” said Daus. His sentiment was also echoed by the Chairperson of Galana A, Mr Michael Enda, who recounted how they have recovered bodies and injured individuals .

Explaining ongoing rescue efforts, Sendiga mentioned the challenges faced in certain areas, where mud height increased, halting recovery operations. Sendinga committed that tomorrow, December 04, 2023, experts form the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDF) will take a dive in several areas for the purpose of recovering bodies.

In response to the incident, President Samia Suluhu issued directives for all government sectors to concentrate their efforts on the ongoing emergency.

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