December 24, 2011
U.S. Ambassador to The United Republic of Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt announced on December 24 that the American people have provided disaster relief funds to flood victims in the Dar es Salaam Region. Relief supplies totaling USD $50,000 (approximately TSH 80 million) are being made available through the United States Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Relief (USAID/OFDA) to the Tanzanian Red Cross Society to support families and communities affected by the floods.
Dar es Salaam is currently experiencing devastating floods resulting from the heaviest rainfall in 55 years according to the Tanzania Meteorological Agency. A rapid assessment by the Tanzanian Red Cross estimates the total number of people affected by the floods over 50,000 (approximately 10,000 families); to date about 10,000 people (approximately 2,000 families) have been displaced and are being accommodated in temporary displacement/holding centers. Over 200 people have been injured, with approximately 2,500 people missing, mostly children, and 23 people have been confirmed dead, and the toll is expected to rise in coming days.
Ambassador Lenhardt handed over the funds to Secretary General of the Tanzania Red Cross Society Adam O. Kimbisa on the morning of December 24. During the check handover, Ambassador Lenhardt said, "the $50,000 USD in disaster assistance from the American people will be used for immediate relief to 10,000 affected families with non-food items including blankets, buckets for water storage, mosquito nets, and water treatment tabs as well as shelter items, including family tents, tarpaulin, and sheeting.
Secretary General Kimbisa was joined by Joseph S. Kimaryo, Director, Disaster Management & Logistics, and Stella Marealle, Information and Dissemination Manager for the Tanzanian Red Cross Society.
This is the third time in 2011 the US has provided rapid disaster relief to Tanzania; including $50,000 in relief for the ammunitions explosion in Ilala district in February as well as donating medical supplies to Mnazi Moja Hospital in Zanzibar after the Zanzibar ferry accident in September.
The record rainfall, which began on December 20, worsened an already disastrous situation has caused significant damage to key infrastructure including bridges and roads connecting the suburbs and the city center. Public transport has been brought to a near standstill. Many houses in lowland areas have been completely destroyed, leaving thousands displaced. A significant number of wells which serve as major sources of water for family use have been over-flooded causing families to go without clean and safe water.