Rains paralyse transport in Dar as Morogoro Road portion is closed

18Oct 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Rains paralyse transport in Dar as Morogoro Road portion is closed

THE sorry state of the drainage system in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam has been exposed once again with massive downpour as transport was paralysed in various suburbs yesterday, with a section of the key Morogoro Road closed.

A survey by The Guardian in various suburbs of Dar es Salaam yesterday 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 day as buses delayed in the 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.

Back in April last year, Dar es Salaam regional authorities declared a state of emergency as heavy rains battered the city and inundated even the most resilient areas, leaving behind a death toll of about 15 and laying waste critical roads and infrastructure.

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 counter the problem.

The programmes were based on a strategic development and management framework to guide future investment activities relating to 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.