Flash floods kill three, leave 600 homeless

28Jan 2020
The Guardian
Flash floods kill three, leave 600 homeless

AT least three people have died and hundreds rendered homeless following downpour that hit Iringa and Lindi regions on Monday, authorities confirmed yesterday.

Pawaga and Idodi are the most affected divisions in Iringa district. Pawaga Prison was surrounded with water, triggering fears on the safety of inmates.

Houses and household items were submerged by heavy flooding resulting from heavy rain.

Iringa District Commissioner Richard Kasesela confirmed the death of three Tungamalenga village residents including two children from one family. He said the children were killed in separate flood incidents, with ongoing torrential rains.

The children drowned in the company of their mother at the family farm, as unfortunately she could not manage to rescue the kids as she had to climb a tree to escape the gushing waters.

Itunundu Pawaga village chairman Chesco Kibuga said the situation at the village is normalizing as affected families have secured shelter at their neighbors. The floods have destroyed more than 15 acres of rice farms in the two villages, he said.

At Tungamalenga 20 families have been rendered homeless and at Itunundu Pawaga over 40 households have no shelter after their houses were destroyed by floods.

Pawaga Prison chief warden Daudi Mwakalukwa said they managed to prevent flooding waters from entering the prison, the second time such floods occur since 2016. Over 100 houses and vast acres of crops were destroyed at that time.

The worst flooding of 2016 touched off famine, with the police force compelled to use helicopters to rescue people from submerged houses, the warder recalled.

Meanwhile in Lindi’s Kilwa district, more than 600 people from five villages have been rescued from flooded houses.

Kilwa District Executive Director Renatus Mchau confirmed the reports noting that the villagers were rescued by using boats.

Villages surrounded by water are Makangasa, Kipindimbi, Njinjo, Kikole and Mitole, he said.

“The rescue was done by fishermen from Kivinje and Masoko towns assisted by good swimmers,” the DED elaborated, noting that they had to deploy five boats.

Farms, houses and various properties were damaged by the rains while livestock like cows and goats were swept off by the water.

“We have consulted higher level officials in Dar es Salaam for assistance.  District and regional authorities have delivered food assistance to affected people,” he affirmed.

Last month, the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) warned of impending heavy rains in 13 regions including Dar es Salaam, Coast, Morogoro, Singida, Dodoma, Lindi, Mtwara, Rukwa, Mbeya, Songwe, Iringa, Njombe, Ruvuma and the Zanzibar archipelago.

TMA said the rains were expected to cause extensive damage to infrastructure and property.

In May last year, uninterrupted rainfall caused serious flooding in Dar es Salaam resulting in the displacement of over 1,000 households and the destruction of more than 1,500 dwellings and infrastructure.

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