4 February 2013

Tanzania: Storm Destroys 50 Houses, Crops in Hai

Boma-Ng'ombe — NEARLY 50 houses were destroyed by strong winds accompanied by heavy rains that rocked Hai District, Kilimanjaro Region last weekend.

he Hai District Commissioner, Mr Novatus Makunga, stated here that close to 100 families have been rendered homeless by the natural disaster, which also destroyed many acres of maize, beans and banana plantations. No casualties were recorded.

The winds accompanied by heavy rains currently pounding Kilimanjaro Region also destroyed a number of bridges, cutting off communication between villages and wards and according to Mr Makunga, the rivers have also swelled and are overflowing, making rescue operations difficult.

The most affected areas so far include the Boma-Ng'ombe Township, which is the district headquarters, Rundugai and Chemka villages. Other parts that suffered the calamity are Kwa-Tito, and Shiri-Mgungani villages in Machame and Weruweru wards as well as Mijongeni village of Machame-Kusini Ward, further south.

"The problem here is that people have been cutting down trees at alarming pace causing the entire landscape to be susceptible to whirlwinds," said Mr Makunga, urging local residents to start planting trees because forests work as wind break in addition to improving the environment.

The Ward Councillor for Machame-Kusini, Mr Nassib Mdeme, said more than 23 houses have so far been destroyed by the gusts of wind and heavy rains which fell in his ward last weekend. "A total of 255 acres of maize and 177 acres of banana plantations have been destroyed by the winds in this ward alone," said the Machame representative.

To help the victims, the government has donated an initial relief food package consisting of 200 kilogrammes of maize flour, 100 kilogrammes of beans plus several litres of cooking oil, consignments that were presented to the people by the district commissioner.

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