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Are we ready for the coming rains?

1st March 2012
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Editorial Cartoon

There are all indications that the weather in the southern part of Africa, Tanzania included won’t bode well in the long rainy season, just around the corner.

According to weather experts in Southern African Development Community (SADC) the coming rainy season is likely to be linked with tropical cyclones that could cause more heavy rains and flooding in the eastern part of the region between this month and the coming one.

According to a report published by the Harare-based Southern Africa Research and Documentary Centre (SARDC) on Tuesday, more heavy rains are forecast during March and April, particularly along the eastern part of the region.

The report said tropical cyclone Giovanna has re-curved southeast-wards off Madagascar; another series of tropical cyclones is evolving over the Indian Ocean well east of Mauritius, and trundling erratically toward the region.

The region has already been pounded by heavy rains since a tropical depression hit Mozambique in January, resulting in two powerful storms, Tropical Cyclone Funso and Tropical Depression Dando that caused flooding in its coastal regions.

Flooding from the two storm systems reportedly claimed at least 40 lives and displaced several thousands in the country.

Major highways between the capital, Maputo, and northern parts of the country were destroyed, raising fears of food shortages in affected areas.

The number of people directly affected by the torrential rains, high winds and flooding brought by the two storm systems is estimated at 119,000.

Other SADC countries that also experienced flooding this year include Angola and South Africa, according to the report.

Tanzania is still recovering from the floods at the end of last year after a strong storm washed the country’s coastal areas killing scores of people and damaging property.

With the looming danger, already some countries have started taking precautionary measures including activating contingency plans to mitigate the impact of possible floods.

For example, there are reports that Namibia has repositioned essential commodities and relief tools as part of their contingency plans, especially in the Caprivi Region, which is prone to floods.

Given the above scenario, it is very likely that it might not be all well for Tanzania which expects the long season rains to start this month.

Should what happened in Mozambique be the scenario, very calculated measures to deal with possible outcomes of the ravages of weather need to be take from now.

While weather forecasting agencies, disaster preparedness units as well as the rescue units have been sending out warnings from time to time, it must be stated that they are not treated with the seriousness they deserve.

This has resulted in belated panic reaction failing to avert destruction of life and property and retarding the wheel of development.

This time round we ought to learn of any possible occurrence of cyclones issue early through weather alerts and prepare for any eventuality instead of staying ‘in-situ’.

Along with that we need to beef up the disaster preparedness unit with more personnel and equipment.

Tanzania more than any other country in the region has a unique geography  one that is prone to disasters — oceans, lakes, land eruptions and the like.

In such circumstances, beefing up the disaster preparedness units is not optional.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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