More Than 40 Feared Dead After Dar Floods

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SOME 41 people are feared dead as a result of floods caused by downpour that hit Dar es Salaam for about three days over the weekend, according to Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (RC) Saidi Meck Sadiki.

Mr Sadiki, who by virtue of his position is the Chairman of the Regional Defence and Security Committee, noted, however, that so far 25 people have been confirmed by police to have died as a result of the floods.

"In Ilala District, there are two people who have been reported missing while 11 have been confirmed dead while in Kinondoni, there are seven confirmed deaths and 14 were reportedly buried before corroboration by the police.

In Temeke, seven people perished. "I have directed the police to visit families of the 14 people reported dead to ensure that the said persons really died as a result of the floods as the search for other bodies continue," Mr Sadiki told this newspaper in a telephone interview.

If the bodies of the two people said to be missing are found and the police verify that the 14 that were buried died as a result of the floods, then the death toll will come to 41, he noted.

The RC went on to issue a warning to residents who have been seen over the past two days returning to the flood-prone lowlying areas, urging them to think about their lives and property.

"There is an ongoing case in the courts filed by the residents, opposing eviction from the areas and thus there is nothing we can do for now.

They should, however, mind about themselves, their families and property, which are at risk," Mr Sadiki warned.

In another development, transport to upcountry regions resumed yesterday though on a slow pace, thanks to emergency repairs on the damaged infrastructure, particularly bridges that were wrecked by the heavy rains.

The affected bridges include the one over River Ruvu along the Morogoro- Dar es Salaam Highway, Mpiji along the Dar es Salaam-Bagamoyo Road as well as Mzinga along Kilwa Road that connects Dar es Salaam and the southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara and some parts of Coast Region.

As of yesterday morning, vehicles were allowed to pass through Ruvu and Mzinga while work was still going on at Mpiji, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Works.

"For the past three days, officials at the ministry as well as the Tanzania National Roads Agency were working around the clock to connect Dar es Salaam to other parts of the country after bridges were washed away with rains," the statement read in part.

It noted also that the Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli, had suspended leave for all regional TANROADS managers and put off the agency's Workers' Council meeting that was scheduled to take place in Tanga earlier this week, so that all workers dedicate their time to the road and bridge repair work.

On Monday night, the minister visited the affected areas, including the Mkokozi Bridge that link Mji Mwema and Kongowe areas in the city, which was also affected.

Meanwhile, the Territorial Traffic Police Commander, Mr Mohamed Mpinga, confirmed to 'Daily News' that buses at the Ubungo Bus Terminal (UBT) were allowed to start carrying stranded passengers starting Tuesday morning.

"Vehicles are now crossing over Ruvu and Mzinga Bridges though slowly, it is only Mpiji Bridge that is impassable though efforts are still underway to repair it," the traffic police boss explained.