Floods wreak havoc

News and Press Release
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Seven dead, tourist attractions cut off

By Staff reporter

Six people have died in both Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, from ongoing floods affecting the Northern Zone. The Police in both precincts have confirmed the deaths.

Two people were killed when a semi-trailer truck they were travelling in was swept by floods in the Makuyuni location of Monduli District, along Arusha-Dodoma road following a heavy downpour that hit the area last week.

A portion of the road between Arusha and Karatu at Mto wa Mbu that has been extensively damaged by freak floods last Sunday. The passengers were left stranded until Tuesday (nsert) when a narrow escape way was created.

The truck which was ferrying road construction equipment was swept by a current which also swept away part of the bridge crossing Loobuko River.

Monduli District Commissioner, Mr Jowika Kasunga, named the deceased as Mr Shekman (38) who was the truck driver. His second name couldn’t be obtained immediately. The second victim was mentioned as Mr Samwel Julius (28), the equipment technician.

Three other people managed to escape when the vehicle with registration number T-190 AKW was engulfed in the raging current. The lorry was travelling from Engaruka heading to Arusha town when disaster struck.

The truck was found more than a kilometer from the bridge with one of the bodies trapped inside, while after an extensive search, the other victim’s body was trapped on tree branches along the river bank.

The other three people who managed to escape from the accident are Mr Somara Minja (28), Mr Basil Joseph (27) and Mr William Martin (27).

The floods swept away another vehicle, a Toyota Sedan with registration number T573-AHW, being driven by Mr Augustine Masinge, who works for the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, who happened to be on his way to Musoma, driving along the Arusha-Dodoma road. He reportedly managed to save his life by jumping out of the car.

More than 45 passengers of the bus christened ‘Lakrome’ with Registrations T-946 ARX and which was traveling from Rombo District to Karatu escaped with sheer luck when their vehicle missed by-an inch to catapult into the same river where the rains had swept off a large portion of the bridge.

Passengers try clear log and rocks after a section of the road was washed away between Mto wa Mbu and Karatu The scene at the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park Tourists who were on their way to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti were delayed for hours along hundreds of other vehicles that had stuck at the bridge following the incident.

In the Kilimanjaro case four people died in Mwanga District in two separate flood incidents.

According to the Mwanga District Commissioner, Athumani Mdoe, a mother and her daughter were killed from a landslide in the Usangi, highlands.

He said in the lowland, 333 hectares of crops and 30 houses were destroyed by floods. 15 others were submerged in mud. Some roads were also washed away, creating a communication nightmare.

Mr Mdoe who was updating the Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Mr Leonidas Gama, on the havoc wreaked by the rains, named the deceased as Anna Keshi and her daughter Esther Ally.

Two houses were buried under landslide in Lambo Village, in Shighatini Ward while at four others were covered in mud and debris in Mamba Village of Msangeni Ward, four more houses where the two people died, were buried in the mud.

At the lowland in Jipe Division, floods have destroyed 333 hectares of maize, sorghum and sunflower at Ngulu, Kwakoa, Kigonigoni, Jipe, Butu, Kambi ya Simba, and Kivisini villages.

The RC advised Mwanga residents to avoid constructing houses in areas prone to landslides.

Meanwhile, one person was killed, one still missing and several injured, following landslides that have occurred in Mto-wa-Mbu and Karatu areas, early on Monday morning.

The incident, which was confirmed by the police here, has so far cut-off communications due to rocks, debris and fallen trees on the main road which leads to Serengeti, cutting off three important tourism attractions in the Northern Circuit.

The dead person was identified as Mr Ndeito Mundere (37) who works for Serena Lodges who together with his mate Mr Saidi Mudai, were sleeping at their company’s water pumping station premises, near Mto-wa-Mbu, when the entire building was swept off by the raging waters, gushing downhill.

There are reports that another person who was near the pump station could have been carried away by the currents. The loss of the pump machine according to an official at Serena was more than 30 million/- Karatu District Commissioner, Mr Mathew Sedeyoka and the area Member of Parliament, Mr Israel Yohana Natse said the disaster will badly affect the precinct. “There are buses that were on their way to Dar-es-Salaam but have stalled here, they can neither proceed nor go back and among the passengers are women and children,” said Mr Natse.

The Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Parks, as well as the Ngorongoro Crater have been cut off at the time when the second tourism season is starting. Also travelers heading to Musoma, Serengeti and other parts of Mara region had been stuck along the road.

On Monday nearly 200 vehicles, among them buses, trucks, tour vehicles and private cars lined up both sides of the road with their occupants stranded.

Three bridges have badly been damaged along Makuyuni-Ngorongoro-Gate highway.

Several villages were submerged in water while the lower part of Karatu township was also wading in water early this week.

Many residents complained the lack of disaster management in the entire Arusha Region.