Floods kill 58 in Tanzania with heavy rains persisting

More than 100,000 people have been affected by the flooding, which has hit Tanzania’s coastal areas especially hard.

Members of the Tanzania Defense Forces and rescuers search for the bodies of people killed following flash floods and landslides in the Manyara region, December 4, 2023
At least 63 people were killed in December, as floods and landslides devastated Tanzania [File: Reuters]

Floods have killed 58 people in Tanzania over the last two weeks, spurring the East African country to seek an answer in major infrastructure projects.

The government announced the death toll late on Sunday as heavy rains continued to lash the country. April marks the peak of Tanzania’s rainy season, and it has been exacerbated this year by the El Nino phenomenon, which has caused droughts and floods across the globe.

“From April 1 to April 14, 2024, there were 58 deaths caused by the heavy rains, which led to flooding,” government spokesman Mobhare Matinyi told a press briefing, stressing that the country’s coastal region was one of the worst affected.

“Serious flood effects are experienced in the coast region where 11 people have so far died,” he added.

Tanzania has plans to construct 14 dams to prevent flooding in future, the spokesman said.

Just four months ago, at least 63 people were killed during floods in northern Tanzania that also triggered devastating landslides.

On Friday, eight schoolchildren drowned after their bus plunged into a flooded gorge in the north of the country. A volunteer in the rescue operations also died.

Overall, at least 126,831 people were affected by the flooding, Matinyi reported.

More than 75,000 farms have been damaged in the coastal and Morogoro areas – about 200km (124 miles) west of the economic capital, Dar-es-Salaam.

Essential supplies, including food, have been distributed to those affected.

Other parts of East Africa have also been experiencing heavy rains. Flooding in neighbouring Kenya is reported to have killed at least 13 people.

Infrastructure has also been damaged and those living in flood-prone areas are being urged to move.

Scientists from the World Weather Attribution group have said the rainfall in East Africa “was one of the most intense ever recorded” in the region between October and December.

“Climate change also contributed to the event, making the heavy rainfall up to two times more intense,” the AFP news agency reported, citing the group, adding that the exact contribution of global warming was unknown.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies