Landslides in Tanzania: death toll rises to 68

At least 68 people were killed in landslides caused by heavy rains in northern Tanzania, according to a new report released Monday, December 4 by the authorities, who fear other victims

Landslides in Tanzania: death toll rises to 68

At least 68 people were killed in landslides caused by heavy rains in northern Tanzania, according to a new report released Monday, December 4 by the authorities, who fear other victims. A previous report reported 63 deaths.

These rains have been sweeping the town of Katesh, in the north of the country, some 300 kilometers north of the capital Dodoma, since Saturday, feeding thick mudslides that have swept away dozens of vehicles and homes.

“We have already counted 68 dead and the search continues,” said regional official Queen Sendiga. “We think there are more bodies to recover,” Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa had previously said while visiting Katesh, adding that 116 other people had been injured.

The importance of the El Niño climatic phenomenon

Search and rescue operations were still underway with the help of the army to find people who may have been buried by the mud. Images broadcast by local television channels showed streets littered with various debris from houses, while traffic and electricity distribution were disrupted.

Paschal Paulo, a resident of the area, told AFP that the floods had swept away everything in the market where he worked. Another, also employed on site, James Gabriel, said he was looking for his loved ones, and “anguished”. Around a hundred houses were swallowed by the waves of mud, said regional official Queen Sendiga.

East Africa has been hit for weeks by torrential rains and floods linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which have displaced more than a million people in Somalia and left more than 300 dead in the region.

El Niño, generally associated with rising temperatures, droughts in some parts of the world and heavy rains in others, is expected to last until April. This meteorological phenomenon has already wreaked havoc in eastern Africa. From October 1997 to January 1998, gigantic floods fueled by the torrential rains it caused caused more than 6,000 deaths in five countries in the region.