However such pathetic situation in the metropolis has been recurring every year whenever heavy rains pound the city – and in recent years, that roughly translates to every year, the phenomena quickly blamed on global warming and climate change.
Urban flooding is the inundation of land or property in a built environment, particularly in more densely populated areas, caused by rainfall overwhelming the capacity of drainage systems, such as storm sewers.
The last bit of the above definition is well graspable to the central government, Dar es Salaam City authorities and planners thereof since times immemorial – but little is being done to arrest the situation.
In particular we have in mind the Jangwani stretch of the historical Morogoro Road which has been having more than its fair shares of road closures in the city during periods of heavy rains.
The importance of this stretch which since four years ago formed part of the Rapid Transport system operated by UDART cannot be overemphasized as it connects two imperative areas of the city – the city’s business district including Kariakoo area and Magomeni/Manzese/Ubungo residential areas. Not to mention its being a vital road link of the city with upcountry regions.
When the infrastructure for Rapid Transport system was being constructed many city residents thought a permanent solution of the former Jangwani stretch’s frequent flooding during rain seasons was in the offing.
It was not to be. To the dismay and surprise of many, the contractor laid the new infrastructure without raising its height above the flood area – in other words it ran virtually on the same level as that of the former infrastructure.
And as if that was not enough infuriation, the main depot for the UDART buses was also built in the same flood area, just on the roadside.
And nature was quick to prove the authorities’ indefensible folly, on the very year of UDART operation, heavy rains pounded the city flooding the entire road stretch including the depot for the new buses damaging tens of them that were parked therein.
Billions of shillings had to be spent for their repairs and huge loss for the depot itself that had to be permanently closed.
We think it is time for the government to think about reconstructing the entire Jangwani road stretch by raising it several metres above the normally maximum flood water level. It can surely be done even though the cost would be high.
But leaving the situation as it is, in the long time the nation stands to lose a lot in economic terms from disruption of business and economic activities of the country’s commercial hub.