Following flooding in Tanzania’s central Dodoma region in March 2014, which caused several deaths and destruction, including the derailment of a train , further flooding has occurred, this time in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam.
A storm warning was issued by the Tanzania Meteorology Agency (TMA) on Friday 11 April, advising residents of the coastal and southern regions of the country, including suburbs of Dar es Salaam, to expect three days of heavy rainfall, leading to flooding in some areas. Rainfall exceeding 50mm (2”) in 24 hours was forecast, along with storm surges exceeding 2m (6ft)
TMA Acting Director-General, Dr Agnes Kijazi, said that the ongoing rains are normal for the wet season that lasts through to May, but that higher than average rainfall can be expected until Monday.
Rainfall of 131mm (5.1”) in 24 hours was recorded at the airport and 135mm (5.3”) at the port of Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
On Saturday, the Mpiji Bridge at Bunju B in Kinondoni district was washed away by floodwaters, stranding passengers and tourists headed for Bagamoyo, north of Dar es Salaam, while the road linking Chanika and Mbagala was rendered impassable.
The floods in Dar Es Salaam are crazy! pic.twitter.com/1nzMhhBOkX
— Alan Kasujja – BBC (@kasujja) April 13, 2014
Tanzanian Minister of Works John Magufuli and Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadick visited the site of the bridge wash-away to establish the extent of the damage caused by torrential rains that started on Friday.
“We have been here since morning and we have seen the extent of damage on the road. At around 8am only three metres (10ft) of the tarmac had been washed away … but by 1pm about 30 metres (100ft) of the tarmac had already been destroyed … and the damage continues,” the Minister said.
He announced that the new Bagamoyo road would be closed for two days to pave the way for reconstruction of the Mpiji Bridge, and urged bus operators and private vehicle owners travelling to Bagamoyo to use the feeder roads that pass through Bunju via Kibaha.
Speaking on the death toll caused by the rains Sadick said initial reports showed that at least eight people had died in the Dar es Salaam environs, seven of whom were swept away by floodwaters as they attempted to cross swollen rivers. Reports indicate that five of the dead were children, and it has also been reported elsewhere that the death toll may be up to ten people.
Dar Rapid Transit (DART) project manager with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Tanzania, Li Qiaojia said the company had lost US$30,000 worth of equipment to the floods.
Meanwhile, in central Tanzania, hundreds of people were displaced earlier in the week by floods in villages near Bukoba, Kagera Region after heavy rainfall estimated at 65mm (2.5”) triggered floods that destroyed 50 houses.