A minimum of 65 individuals have met their demise in mudslides and inundations set in motion by intense precipitation in the northern reaches of Tanzania, as declared by the premier on Tuesday, thereby revising down the count of 68 previously stated by regional authorities just a day earlier.
Deluges of relentless rain over the weekend swept away automobiles and toppled structures in the elevated township of Katesh, located 300 kilometers (approximately 185 miles) to the north of the capital city, Dodoma.
“An additional two lifeless bodies were discovered in the ongoing quest, thus elevating the tally of fatalities to a somber 65,” expressed Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
Images transmitted via television broadcasts portrayed remnants of abodes, inclusive of furnishings, strewn haphazardly across thoroughfares, and essential roadways, power cables, as well as communication networks lay in a state of disruption.
“At approximately five o’clock in the morning on Sunday, I discerned thunderous reverberations in the vicinity of my abode. Regrettably, when we endeavored to make an escape, it proved to be futile due to the inexorable descent of mud, vegetation, and rocks from the elevated terrain,” recounted an individual named James, who had the heart-wrenching experience of losing his spouse and daughter in the catastrophe.
Approximately 5,600 individuals have been forced to abandon their residences as a consequence of these landslides, as disclosed by Mobhare Matinyi, a spokesperson for the government.
Rashid Ntandu, aged 24, lamented the loss of his abode in the calamity and sought refuge within a Katesh school that had been repurposed into an asylum.
“I hold the belief that there may be additional casualties concealed beneath the layers of mud,” he expressed.
This calamitous event has induced President Samia Suluhu Hassan to truncate her sojourn to Dubai for the COP28 climate summit, with her office confirming her intentions to visit the afflicted locality on Thursday.
Tanzania and its neighboring East African nations, including Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, find themselves contending with sudden surges of water brought on by copious rains connected to the El Nino meteorological phenomenon.
These inundations are intensifying the humanitarian crisis in this locale, just as it seeks to recuperate from the most severe drought witnessed in four decades, an ordeal that left millions of people grappling with hunger.
Between the months of October 1997 and January 1998, widespread deluges resulted in over 6,000 fatalities across five nations in the vicinity.
Researchers assert that extraordinary meteorological events such as inundations, tempests, droughts, and wildfires are being extended in duration, heightened in intensity, and heightened in frequency due to climate alterations induced by human activities.