Over 140 people in drought-stricken Hai district, Kilimanjaro Region have been rendered homeless after their houses were destroyed by heavy rains, which hit the area hard at the weekend.
Hai District Commissioner Novatus Makunga confirming the incident said: “The rain was disastrous as it was accompanied by strong winds. At least 40 houses were destroyed, 28 of them completely.”
“I visited the victims in all the areas affected by the rains where I discovered that the impact was big…those people need immediate humanitarian assistance as some of them are living in open spaces,” the DC said.
Apart from destroying the houses, the rains also caused floods that flashed-out a small bridge connecting Boma ya Ng’ombe Township—the district’s headquarters and Rundugai and Chemka villages.
The DC identified the villages that were affected as Kwatito and Shirimgungani, located in the Machame Weruweru ward and Mijongweni of Machame Kusini ward.
Machame Kusini ward councillor Nasibu Mdeme said that most people ‘were caught napping’ when the rain hit the area.
He explained that in his ward a total of 23 houses were affected.
“They include 255 acres of maize and 170 acres of banana farms,” he told reporters who visited the area.
Mdeme explained that the rain unroofed several houses as well as uprooting many trees.
“This is a disaster…as leaders we don’t know what to do,” the ward councilor stated, calling for well-wishers to chip-in and support the affected communities.
This paper saw four mud and grass-thatched houses that were completely destroyed in Kwatito and Shirimgungani villages.
At Mijonweni, the rains affected most farms.
DC Makunga also appealed to well-wishers to donate to the affected saying:
“Most of those affected here need shelter, food and related basic human necessities.”
“I appeal to institutions, companies and individuals to donate to the affected households’ items such as food, building materials and clothes.”
In a quick response to the disaster, the government has dish-out 200kgs of maize flour, 100kgs of beans and cooking oil to the victims.
DC Makunga used the opportunity to encourage people in the area to plant more trees saying: “Trees are very important in reducing the effect of strong wind in this area.”
The disaster happened barely few days after the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) issued a weather alert on the possibility of heavy downpour in some parts of the country between January 30 and February 1.
On January 30, this year, TMA Acting Communication Manager Monica Muton, said there would be heavy rains above 50mm in 24 hours, affecting various regions.
She mentioned some of the areas to affected as Rukwa, Iringa, Mbeya, Njombe, Ruvuma, Morogoro, Lindi, Coast, Mtwara and the neighbouring areas.
She said the expected heavy rainfall would be a result of the existence of tropical cyclone “FELLENG” over the north-east of Madagascar pulling moisture-rich air from Congo through the mentioned areas.
Mutton advised the residents of high-risk areas, users of land and sea and disaster management institutions to take necessary precautions.
She said that updates regarding the mentioned tropical cyclone would be issued when necessary.