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Heavy Rains Devastate East Africa: 155 Dead in Tanzania

Photo : AP

Devastating floods and landslides triggered by weeks of heavy rain have wreaked havoc in Tanzania, claiming the lives of 155 people and injuring 236 others, as reported by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. Addressing Parliament, Majaliwa attributed the intensified rainy season to the El Nino climate pattern, which has caused widespread flooding and destruction of vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and railways.

El Nino, a natural climate phenomenon characterized by increased global temperatures and erratic weather patterns, has exacerbated the situation, unleashing torrential downpours across the region. Majaliwa emphasized that the catastrophic consequences of the rains stem primarily from environmental degradation, including deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices like "slash and burn" farming, and unregulated livestock grazing.

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The impact of the deluge has been profound, with more than 200,000 individuals and 51,000 households affected by the rains, leading to the closure of flooded schools and emergency services mobilizing to rescue stranded residents. Urging residents in low-lying areas to relocate to safer ground, Majaliwa directed district officials to ensure that relief provisions reach those most in need.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Kenya has also borne the brunt of the extreme weather, with 35 reported deaths due to flooding. Nairobi, the capital city, remains inundated, prompting warnings for residents to remain vigilant as heavy rains persist. In Mathare, a Nairobi neighbourhood, multiple fatalities were recorded, with emergency services recovering bodies from flooded homes and the Mathare River.

Kenyan President William Ruto chaired a flood response meeting, directing the National Youth Service to allocate land for displaced individuals. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua announced plans to provide food and essential supplies to flood-affected communities, with relocation efforts prioritized for those in high-risk areas.

In Burundi, approximately 96,000 people have been displaced by relentless rains, while Somalia grapples with intensifying "Gu" rains, resulting in flash floods. Uganda has also endured severe storms, leading to riverbank breaches and displacing several hundred villagers.

Amidst the widespread devastation, humanitarian agencies are working tirelessly to provide assistance to affected communities, underscoring the urgent need for coordinated efforts to mitigate the impact of the ongoing crisis.

April 26, 2024 12:51 p.m. 3622

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