Tanzania: Technical Accident and Floods DREF operation no. MDRTZ007 Final report


The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

Summary: CHF 11,593 (USD 11,593 or EUR 7,365) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Tanzania Red Cross National Society in conducting needs assessments and supporting the miners trapped under the flooded mines as well as their family members.

The TRCNS trained 40 First Aid action team members, sensitized the community about Red Cross activities and the Movement as a whole and opened a Red Cross branch in the area. Furthermore, the National Society procured and distributed relief materials to 35 most vulnerable households identified during the rapid emergency needs and capacity assessments as follows; 700 pieces of iron sheets,350 bags of cement, 350 kilograms of roofing nails, 1,750 pieces of roofing timber, 400 buckets , 400 bed nets and 100 cartons of washing soap to the affected households.

In collaboration and cooperation with staff of the Ministry of Health (MoH), Tanzania Red Cross National Society provide First Aid services to those involved in the search and rescue operation. The National Society procured and availed for use in the rescue operation 50 body bags, 20 First Aid kits, 20 stretchers, heavy duty gloves and masks. TRCNS also provided clean drinking water to the rescue teams as well as providing them with glucose to keep their energy levels high as they worked and disinfected dead bodies and gave anti-bacterial tablets. 100,000 water treatment tablets were distributed at wells targeting persons drawing water.

The operation time frame for this operation was from 1 to 30 April 2008.

The situation

Mererani Tanzanite mines are situated in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania. Mererani is home to about 38,000 people, the majority of whom work in mines in the Mererani Tanzanite hills four kilometres from the mining settlement of Mererani Township.

The area was hit by devastating floods leading to the deaths of an estimated 70 artisan miners, who were busy working in the mines. The floods also caused damage to houses and properties in four Mererani villages, leaving more than 540 households without shelter.

According to statistics made available by the artisan committee (miners) more than 158 artisan miners registered for work underground, on the fateful day only 93 made their way to safety and the rest were feared dead.

The rescue operation began on 29 March 2008, with rescue teams working towards draining water and removing sand from the underground mines to retrieve those persons buried in the collapsed mines.