The tent leaks when it rains and Juma Mohammed hardly gets good night’s rest and the children can’t study or do homework. Meant as temporary shelter after the destruction of his house at Markaz area in Ukonga in Ilala District, Dar es Salaam, the tent is currently in a dilapidated condition.
Mohammed is among 71 families left homeless following a bomb blast at Gongo la Mboto Military Camp (511 KJ) that occurred on February 16, 2011, claiming 22 lives and injuring many others. Today water penetrates through the roof of Mohammed’s tent and he blames the government for the slow pace in constructing new homes for the victims.
Recently the government announced through the office of the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (RC) the steps it has taken to date to fulfill the promise of building new houses for the victims of the blasts.
RC Sadik Mecky Sadik said the government had expected to hand over newly built houses to the affected people early this month. He made the announcement when laying the foundation stone for some 35 houses to be built at Msongola village in Ilala district, about 40 kilometers away from Dar es Salaam city centre.
But a spot check by The Guardian on Sunday at the construction site last week can reveal there is little possibility of handing over the houses the government promised. Only a few houses have their walls nearing completion while many others are still at the foundation stage.
Early assessment of the houses completely destroyed, that was done by the government evaluator, covered 24 houses and the decision in this case was to build new ones. But it was later found out that some of the damaged houses could be rehabilitated.
Sadik said the government had formed a task force to assess 168 claims that were handed over to the chief government evaluator for compensation.
Despite of government efforts to help the bomb victims, there are some of them were unhappy with the location of the new houses. One of them who asked for anonymity said the new site is very remote and not yet developed, lacking in social facilities like dispensaries, electricity and water.
Besides that he said it would take longer to hand over houses to the victims because construction work is moving ‘at snail’s pace,’ stressing that there is a lot to be done to finalise the work.
Sadik assured people present at the foundation laying ceremony that the roads infrastructure would be completed before people move to the new locations. Meanwhile Ilala Municipal Council Director, Gabriel Fuime said the council would construct culverts in collaboration with the office of the regional commissioner.