Over 155 People Killed in Tanzania Due to Heavy Rains in East Africa

Flooding and landslides triggered by weeks of heavy rain in Tanzania have claimed the lives of 155 people and left 236 others injured, according to the country’s prime minister. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa informed Parliament that the El Nino climate pattern has exacerbated the already intense rainy season, causing extensive damage to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and railways.

“The heavy El Nino rains, accompanied by strong winds, floods, and landslides in various parts of the country, have caused significant damage,” Majaliwa stated on Thursday.

El Nino, a natural climate pattern, is typically associated with increased global temperatures, drought, and heavy rainfall.

Majaliwa attributed the devastating effects of the rains to environmental degradation, citing deforestation, unsustainable farming practices like “slash and burn” agriculture, and unregulated livestock grazing.

More than 200,000 people and 51,000 households have been affected by the rains, the prime minister noted. Flooded schools have been closed, and emergency services are rescuing people stranded by floodwaters.

Majaliwa urged residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground and instructed district officials to ensure that aid reaches those in need.

Earlier in April, the government reported that 58 people, including children, had been killed in rains and floods since the beginning of the month.

The East African region has experienced heavier-than-usual rainfall during the current rainy season, with flooding also reported in neighbouring Burundi and Kenya.

In Kenya, 35 people were reported dead as of Monday, with the number expected to rise as flooding continues across the country.

Some parts of the capital, Nairobi, remain submerged, and citizens have been warned to remain vigilant as heavy rains are forecasted in the coming days.

In the Mathare neighbourhood of the capital, at least four bodies were recovered from flooded houses on Wednesday, with reports indicating that more bodies were found in the Mathare River.

Kenyan President William Ruto chaired a multi-agency flood response meeting on Thursday and directed the National Youth Service to provide land for people in flood-affected areas.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua stated at a press briefing that flood victims would receive food and other essentials, with plans to relocate those in the most vulnerable areas.

In Burundi, approximately 96,000 people have been displaced by months of relentless rains, according to the United Nations and the government.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported this week that in Somalia, the “Gu” rains (from April to June) were intensifying, with flash floods reported since April 19.

Uganda has also been hit by heavy storms, causing riverbanks to burst and leading to two confirmed fatalities and the displacement of several hundred villagers.

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