At least three people died and around 4 500 were left homeless after flash flooding hit Iringa district, central Tanzania, and Lindi in the southeastern region following days of a heavy downpour.
In Iringa, the worst affected divisions were Pawaga and Idodi, where more than 100 houses and vast swaths of crops were lashed, authorities confirmed on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
Pawaga Prison was also surrounded by floodwater, triggering fears on the inmates' safety. 41 houses were also destroyed. However, chief warden Daudi Mawakaluwa assured that they managed to stop floodwaters from getting inside the prison.
All fatalities were in Tungamalenga in Iringa, as confirmed by district commissioner Richard Kasesela. Among the deaths were two children from one household, who died in separate flood incidents.
Meanwhile, in Itunudu Pawaga, 40 households have no shelter after floods destroyed their homes. However, village chairman Chesco Kibuga said the situation in their area has somehow eased as some of the affected families sought refuge at their neighbors.
He added that floodwaters ravaged over 6 ha (15 acres) of rice farms in two villages.
In Lindi, at least 4 500 people from six villages were left homeless and were accommodated in schools and churches after "their houses were swept away by flash floods caused by ongoing heavy rains this week," said Kilwa district commissioner Christopher Ngubiagai.
More than 600 people from five villages in Kilwa district were rescued. According to Kilwa district executive director Renatus Mchau, the villagers were saved by using boats.
He added that the five inundated villages were Makangasa, Kipindimbi, Njinjo, Kikole, and Mitole.
"The rescue was done by fishermen from Kivinje and Masoko towns, assisted by good swimmers," he said, also noting that five boats were deployed.
Aside from crops, houses, and other properties, torrential rains also affected livestock such as cows and goats, which were swept away by floods.
Mchau affirmed that district and regional authorities have provided food assistance to affected people. "We have consulted higher-level officials in Dar es Salaam for assistance.:
In May 2019, incessant rain triggered flooding in Dar es Salaam, which displaced more than 1 000 families and destroyed over 1 500 properties.
Featured image credit: ITV Tanzania