More downpour likely as Dar comes to a standstill

17Jan 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
More downpour likely as Dar comes to a standstill

AS residents of the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam come to terms with disruptions caused by yesterday’s downpour, the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) has forecast more rains, strong winds and waves close to the seashore until Sunday.

A TMA statement said yesterday that regions to be affected by the weather pattern are Dar es Salaam, Lindi, Mtwara, Coast (including Mafia Island) as well as Zanzibar.

The weather condition is likely to disrupt economic activities such as fishing along the shore as well as marine transport between Dar es Salaan and Zanzibar, apart from other coastal destinations.

“Residents of the mentioned areas should take precautions in their activities during the stipulated period,” it cautioned.

The rains are likely to result in damaging infrastructure and part of habitation, with precautions needed on the part of residents, humanitarian agencies and rescue authorities.

The warning comes as residents of Dar es Salaam are counting losses caused by the downpour that pounded the city in the early hours of yesterday, rendering most parts of the city, including the Central Business District (CBD) a no-go zone.

A survey by The Guardian in various suburbs of Dar es Salaam saw long queues of motorists and perplexed pedestrians as a number of bridges and walkways were submerged by running water.

At commuter bus stations passengers were braving intermittent rains that went on for most of the morning as buses delayed in queues.

Authorities were forced to close the busy section of Morogoro Road at the Magomeni descent to Jangwani valley as the silted underneath of the bridge was submerged by gushing water from upstream suburbs, leaving motorists and pedestrians stranded on both sides of the road, from Magomeni to Kariakoo.

Several smaller bridges were rendered impassable including the Mto Ng’ombe at Manzese area which also left motorists as well as pedestrians stranded on both sides for several hours.

The Msimbazi occasional stream which discharges into the sea was overflowing, cutting off Kigogo from Ilala Boma thus leaving residents of both sides stranded for the better part of the day.

‘Bodaboda’ riders took advantage of the situation to make a killing by transporting people from one place to other using narrow pathways that cannot be accessed by vehicles.

Also some unemployed youths usually carrying luggage found a niche service of carrying persons on their backs through testing paths for a fee.

Over 70 percent of Dar es Salaam’s 4.5 to 5 million inhabitants live in informal settlements, mainly straddling the two sides of the former Msimbazi river basin, now a silted seasonal stream.

The government through the Tanzania Urban Resilience Programme (TURP) funded by the World Bank has over the past two decades launched several initiatives to solve the problem.

The programme was based on a strategic development and management framework to guide future investment activities in the basin area.

This includes a detailed plan for the lower basin, transforming much of the lower flood plain to a city park and building a solid foundation for housing and commercial development, experts noted.