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14 killed after severe floods hit Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

14-killed-after-severe-floods-hit-dar-es-salaam-tanzania

Heavy rains that hit Tanzania over the past couple of days caused buildings to collapse and widespread flooding in Dar es Salaam, a major city and commercial port on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast.

A statement released by Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) mentioned hardest-hit regions as Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Arusha, and Morogoro.

Heavy rain started falling on April 14, forcing authorities to order school closures. 

Within 24 hours on April 14 and 15, Dar es Salaam recorded 81.8 mm (3.22 inches) and 99.6 mm (3.92 inches) over the next 24 hours.

On April 16, TMA warned of further heavy rain in Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Pwani, Morogoro, Lindi and Mtwara regions, with some areas likely to see more than 50 mm (1.96 inches) of rain in 24 hours.

Residents were advised to continue to take appropriate precautions and continue to obtain and adhere to weather information as well as warnings.

On April 17, Tanzania National Parks suspended tourist visits to Lake Manyara National Park after heavy rains damaged a bridge over Marera River. Residents are urged to temporarily suspend their planned visits to the park.

On the same day, Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa told reporters that the death toll in the city has reached 14. "The number of killed people has been slowly rising as heavy rains continue."

Tanzania is currently in one of its two rainy seasons. This season, called Masika, usually lasts from mid-March to May and is marked by very heavy rain. TMA said rain is expected to continue for some time.

While other areas of the country have also seen heavy rain over the last week, including Zanzibar and Mtwara, deadly floods in Dar es Salaam are blamed on poor or blocked drainage systems, rapid urbanization and unplanned housing settlements, often in floodplains and close to rivers. 

Almost 70% of the city’s inhabitants live in informal settlements, making them vulnerable to natural disasters. Efforts to clear illegal settlements have often left those evicted with nowhere to go.

Featured image credit: James Mangu

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