2 January 2010

Tanzania: Floods Cause More Deaths in Kilosa

Two more people were reported dead and eight others injured when floods continued to ravage people's properties in Kilosa District, Morogoro Region.

This brings to three the number of people who have been killed by the floods since their onset more than a week ago.

The Government has been forced to step up efforts to evict people from dangerous areas as some have been reluctant to leave their houses, despite the danger of being swept by the floods.

A government vehicle, mounted with a loud speaker, was moving around streets urging people to leave their houses for safer areas where camps have been set up.

The two died yesterday, one of them due to high blood pressure after witnessing his house being swept by floods.

The second drowned after strong water currents overpowered him. Four people were injured at midnight after a house in which they were collapsed on them following the heavy rain. They were rescued by neighbours who responded to their call for help.

The Kilosa district executive director, Mr Efrem Kalimalwendo, said until yesterday some 3,300 people had been forced to leave their houses. They are being accommodated in temporary camps established to cater for displaced people.

Water levels continued to rise, and by yesterday morning even areas where people used to cross were dangerous to venture.

Seeing rising water levels and swelling rivers some people, who were until yesterday clinging to their water logged residences, decided to move to the camps. Areas which have been most affected by the floods include Behewa, Nguzo Sita, Mnara wa Tigo, Madaraka, Kichangani and Mkwatani.

Some people said they were hesitant to move to the camps as they had no means to transport their belongings. They said they could not leave their property behind due to security concerns.

Mr Kalimalwendo said it was not only Kilosa town that had been affected by the floods, as the small town of Kimamba has also been hit hard. Mkondoa river has burst its banks and water from the river which has changed its course is ravaging Kilosa town and neighbouring villages.

For his part, the minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Mustafa Mkulo, said he has already received assistance from the Government and other well-wishers for the flood victims.

Mr Mkulo, who doubles as the Kilosa Member of Parliament, said the assistance includes 80 tents, 1,000 mosquito nets, 1,000 blankets, food items and Sh11 million.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister's Office moved to assist flood victims after three died in Morogoro and Kilimanjaro regions.

The floods have also hit Kongwa District in Dodoma Region, parts of Ruvuma Region and Same District in Kilimanjaro Region.

But the situation is worse in Kilosa District where more than 1,000 houses have been surrounded by flood waters forcing their occupants to seek refuge elsewhere.

The Morogoro regional commissioner, Mr Issa Machibya, announced that a decision was reached to temporarily turn all ward secondary schools into relief centres to accommodate and assist the victims.

He told our reporter in Kilosa that the regional administration had dispatched some assistance to the flood victims.

The PMO had dispatched 25 tents and 200 mosquito nets while Red Cross in Morogoro Region sent 50 tents, 200 mosquito nets and 200 blankets.

Two deaths were reported in Kilimanjaro Region yesterday as torrential rains pounded the northern regions for the second week running.

One person identified as Mr Seleman Mbelwa was reported killed by floods in Kilosa as Morogoro regional police commander Thobias Andengenye pleaded for more patrols in flood hit areas.

Reports from Moshi said two people died when they were swept by flash floods in Same District. A total of 24 people died last November during rain- induced landslides in the district.

It also reported heavy rains since the Christmas weekend but, unlike last month's disaster which struck the highlands, the most affected areas this time were lowlands.

The road transport between Arusha and Babati was cut off for several days following a heavy downpour. Reports from the area say vehicles heading to Arusha from the neighbouring region as well as Singida and beyond were stuck.

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