Tanzania: Hanang Mudslide Disaster - Living to Tell the Tale

Hanang — MANYARA, Hanang: CUTTING a forlorn figure, Scholastica Francis stares towards a heap of thick mud that has buried what used to be their home.

Born and raised in Gendabi village, the 30-year-old lost her two parents, two children and a niece during last weekend's mudslide that claimed over 60 lives, injuring over 100 and left a dozen others missing.

"I was brought up in this neighbourhood," says Scholastica as she points at the now turned ghost village.

On that fateful night, Scholastica was in Katesh town, where she had gone, a week earlier for some errands.

"Knowing how busy I was, I asked my mother to enjoy the company of her grandson and daughter," she recalls.

Whenever she called her mother to inquire about the kids, there was no sign that the mother was ready to let them go.

This would be her mother's stance, two days before the mudslide disaster struck.

"Little did I know that I had seen and heard from my kids for the last time," she sobs.

As she prepares to lay to rest her loved ones, Scholastica is at a loss, clueless of where to begin.

What hurts her the most, was the brutal nature her mother had to endure.

"She was in deep sleep, neighbours tried to wake her up to no avail".

Tanzanians are still coming to terms with the loss of their compatriots who died after a mudslide disaster struck Hanang District of the northern Manyara Region of Tanzania on Sunday.

It is an incident that has indeed shocked the country to the core.

Heavy rain in the area triggered flooding and landslides to gush down steep slopes of Mount Hanang and into areas around the towns of Katesh and Gendabi.

Three wards including Gendabi were worst hit by the natural calamity as the government has shouldered the responsibility of burying the victims and treating the injured who have been admitted at different hospitals.

Speaking yesterday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the death toll had hit 65 with 116 on the injury list.

The Premier described the incident as a natural calamity that caught the country off guard.

While the number of casualties is expected to rise, the situation on the ground still remains dire as numerous houses have been buried or swept away.

Elsewhere, Naomi Mtiano is devastated.

A student of Tanzania Institute of Accountancy (TIA) Mbeya Campus, Naomi lost her parents and two siblings.

She was on campus when disaster struck and had to travel some 700 kilometres to bury her loved ones.

"I'm still at a loss, I had just phoned my father a few days ago to send me tuition fee and here I'm today to bury them", says the tearful Naomi.

What kept her grounded and motivated in her academic life was her family.

Now that they are all gone, Naomi feels a huge vacuum in her life.

"They were my source of inspiration, especially my two siblings".

On Monday, the State House announced that President Samia Suluhu Hassan was cutting short her Dubai trip and switching focus on what was unfolding in Hanang District.

The Head of State was in Dubai to attend the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28): which started on November 30.

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