In the wake of relentless downpours that befell northern Tanzania the previous week, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who undertook a somber visit to the disaster-stricken area, has revealed that a staggering 76 lives were tragically lost to landslides.
“This calamity has exacted a grievous toll, claiming the lives of 76 individuals in the Katesh region,” lamented the esteemed head of state upon her encounter with survivors. Katesh, located approximately 300 kilometers north of the capital city, Dodoma, bore the brunt of this calamitous event.
The torrents of rain that cascaded during the fateful night, from Saturday to Sunday, served as a stark reminder of the urgency for the government to institute comprehensive measures for the timely detection of ominous signs, enabling proactive alerts to avert grave consequences akin to this devastating catastrophe,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan solemnly intimated. She went on to specify that this “catastrophe has also wreaked havoc on vital infrastructure and economic activities.”
“We now face the arduous task of restoring normalcy to this beleaguered region,” she further declared, having made the decision to curtail her participation in COP28 in Dubai to attend to the crisis. A preliminary report released by authorities on Tuesday had initially cited 65 casualties.
Footage aired by local television networks in the aftermath of the inclement weather depicted streets strewn with the wreckage of dwellings. Government spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi reported that these landslides had forcibly displaced approximately 600 individuals.
East Africa has grappled with a relentless onslaught of torrential rains and flooding, an aftermath of the El Niño meteorological phenomenon, for several weeks now. These calamities have uprooted over a million people in Somalia and resulted in over 300 fatalities throughout the region.
El Niño, traditionally associated with temperature fluctuations, droughts in select global regions, and copious rainfall in others, is anticipated to persist until April.
This meteorological phenomenon has previously left a trail of devastation in eastern Africa. Between October 1997 and January 1998, the colossal floods generated by its relentless deluges claimed over 6,000 lives across five nations in the vicinity.