Death Toll Climbs to 63 in Tanzania Landslides Triggered by Heavy Rainfall

Mon Dec 04 2023
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DAR ES SALAAM: The death toll from landslides and flooding caused by heavy rainfall in northern Tanzania has risen to 63, with expectations that the number will increase further. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa led tributes to the victims during a ceremony in the hillside town of Katesh, where torrential downpours led to destructive landslides, washing away vehicles and collapsing buildings.

Majaliwa reported that 23 men and 40 women were among the casualties, and he expressed the belief that more bodies would be recovered. Additionally, 116 people sustained injuries in the disaster. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, with military assistance, as authorities fear people may be buried under thick mud.

Images broadcast on television depicted scenes of debris from houses and furniture strewn across streets. Key roads, power lines, and communication networks have been disrupted. Paschal Paulo, a local market worker, described how everything in the market had been washed away. Another resident, James Gabriel, expressed the stress of searching for missing relatives.

El Nino Weather Pattern Impacts on Tanzania

Esther Bohay recounted hearing loud noises and witnessing streets outside her home turn into a river of mud during the rain. While she and her family managed to escape, at least 100 houses were engulfed by the mud, and a village with 28 families was flattened, according to regional commissioner Queen Sendiga.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has cut short her visit to Dubai for the COP28 climate talks in response to the disaster. Tanzania, along with neighboring countries Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, is grappling with flash floods linked to the El Nino weather pattern.

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