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Rescue, relief effort goes on

SOME Magole villagers ponder their next move after their houses were destroyed by floods in Kilosa District, Morogoro Region.SOME Magole villagers ponder their next move after their houses were destroyed by floods in Kilosa District, Morogoro Region.
  • PM tours affected area in a chopper
  • Situation described as still worse
  • Magufuli orders faster road, bridge repairs   

A SECTION of Morogoro and Manyara regions that was badly affected by floods following an incessant downpour over a large expanse of land covering Manyara and Morogoro regions has been declared a disaster area.

The Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, who  toured the affected areas in a helicopter, ordered the deployment of Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to join the rescue operation and help establish the extent of damage caused.

Mr Pinda, who was accompanied by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Mr William Lukuvi, described the situation as "still worse’’. 

He called for public cooperation in the rescue and relief operation.

“I have directed the minister (Mr Lukuvi) to coordinate with the TPDF and chart a fast strategy to tackle this disaster and evacuate and shelter homeless victims,’’ the prime minister reported.

As reports on the ground show, most people were left homeless and without necessary basic needs while others were reported missing.

One person has been reported dead, scores injured and many more relocated.

The exact number of victims has not yet been given.

In a media briefing in Dar es Salaam  afternoon after touring the affected areas, the prime minister described the situation as "appalling despite various commendable efforts by several organs to help in the rescue and relief effort’’.

He appealed to religious institutions, non-government organisations (NGOs), the public and private sector and all well-wishers to volunteer and offer assistance in whatever way they can to help the victims.

Vividly saddened by the calamity, Mr Pinda wanted the TPDF to immediately help establish the damage caused by the floods and take part in the rescue operation.

Mr Pinda also visited the construction site where Chinese experts were trying to restore the damaged bridge which connects Morogoro and Dodoma regions.

He requested the experts to expedite the rehabilitation of the bridge to make it passable by tomorrow.

Earlier, the Chinese bridge makers had promised to finish the work by Sunday.

Red Cross officials and relief teams are already in the affected areas where they did their best to ensure that the victims got humanitarian assistance, including provision of temporary tents, food and medical services.

According to Mr Pinda, a number of business people have contributed about 50m/- to assist the dislocated families.

Victims of the floods also received donations from various organisations.

The Red Cross donated 300 blankets, 300 buckets and 300 mosquito nets while the Prime Minister's Office donated, among other items, 2,000 blankets, 1,000 mosquito nets, 2,000 mats, 300 cooking pans, 300 spoons, 900 buckets and 300 water tanks. TPDF provided 26 tents. 

The heavy rains that have turned some parts of Kilosa District into mini lakes, incessantly pounded Manyara and Arusha regions on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Works Minister Dr John Magufuli, who also visited the affected area, directed Tanroads to ensure that rehabilitation work goes on for 24 hours to make the ravaged road stretches passable.

He directed the Acting Tanroads Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Crispianus Ako, and other officials from his ministry to do the best they could to ensure the damaged roads are repaired and become passable as soon as possible.

Engineer Ako cautioned that the alternative Dumila-Kilosa-Morogoro road was only meant for buses and other vehicle with less than 10 tonnes.

Initial reports indicate that the floods have affected a number of villages, including Mateteni, Mbigiri, Mabana and the Dakawa Education Centre.  

Following the breakdown, Mr Lukuvi had issued a warning to all those who intend to travel via the affected area to stop doing that for two days.

Mr Lukuvi had earlier advised passengers from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza to use the Chalinze, Babati, Singida -- and onwards -- route.

Mwanza-bound passengers from the Southern Highlands regions were also to transit through Iringa and Dodoma onwards while those who are stranded should make an effort to pass through Kilosa.