El Nino rains destroy 150 homes in Tabora


Deputy Minister of Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba
 More than 150 households have been rendered homeless in Miswaki ward in Uyui District in Tabora Region following the ongoing heavy rains.
The reports also said that more than 50 houses had been washed away following the floods caused by the heavy downpour.
 
This occurred on Wednesday following the heavy rains thus the flood victims were sheltered at the warehouses while others took  shelter at Miswaki Primary School.
 
However Igalula Member of Parliament Musa Ntimizi has donated food to flood victims worth 1m/-.
 
Ntimizi said that the disaster management department would   provide the victims with various support including food and medicines after it visited the affected area and talked to the victims.
 
He said the source of the floods was the destruction of the dam for storing water meant for irrigation thus causing the water to spread to other parts of the ward.
 
“Some houses have been built in the valleys so I advise you to shift to other high  areas,” he said.
 
After visiting the areas affected by floods the district disaster management committee has directed the government at regional level to provide the victims with iron sheets and cement for the construction of houses.
 
Uyui District Commissioner, Zuhura Mustapha  said the disaster management unit would continue to make evaluation of properties which had been destroyed and look for more support for the victims.
 
Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) Manager Central Forecasting Office, Samwel Mbuya  on Tuesday said that the  ongoing rains in different parts of the country  are El Nino rains caused  by increasing temperatures in the Indian Ocean over the past few weeks.
 
 Mbuya urged authorities and the general public to take precaution as more rains are expected over the next few days.
 
“The rains were delayed...we expected them sooner as per our earlier forecast but they are here now, these are El-Nino rains,” he said.
 The  rains  which started  this week  have pounded many parts of the country including the   Dar es Salaam’s business district, exposing the wanting nature of the city’s defunct drainage system.
 
The city came to a near complete standstill in the morning hours as the now confirmed El Nino rains ravaged the city.  Floods quickly overran the city’s clogged drainage systems. As a result, most roads were impassable leaving many commuters stranded and putting businesses and development activities on hold.
 
 The situation was none the better in areas of higher altitudes like Mwanga District in Kilimanjaro Region, where two people died  and over 2,000 passengers were stranded due to floods caused by the heavy rains that hit the drought-stricken district for more than three hours.
 
As most of the country had recovered from the recent floods of the prolonged April rains, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) had warned of the possibility of El Nino rains falling in September and December.
 
Making the announcement, TMA’s Director General, Dr Agnes Kijazi explained that that was due to an increase in ocean temperature in the tropical zone of the Pacific Ocean.
 
Dr Kijazi was speaking in Dar es Salaam alongside the 41st Greater Horn of Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF-41) which involved meteorologists from 11African countries and the rest of the world. 
 
The forum was themed: “Provision of Climate Early Warning for Early Actions regarding expected 2015 El Niño impacts”.
 
Dr Kijazi said despite the increase of temperature in the Pacific Ocean, which was the cause of El Nino, still there were no visible indicators in the Indian Ocean. 
 
According to Kijazi, on September 1, this year, TMA   issued the weather forecast for the next three months. 
 
She took the time to point out that the national meteorological services still faced challenges including inadequate meteorological infrastructure for observation, analysis, archiving and exchange of meteorological information and requested the government to work on the matter. 
 
“This forum is aimed at developing a consensus climate outlook for the coming rainfall season and to formulate mitigation strategies with the expected El Nino conditions in mind,” she said.
 
 “For those of you who witnessed the El Nino phenomenon that hit the region, you can recall its impact on society,” she recalled.
 
The UNDP Representative to Tanzania, Titus Osundina warned that the impending El Nino that had been persistent since late 2014  was likely to affect the September–December 2015 rainfall season in the Greater Horn of Africa and beyond. 
 
He said El Nino is usually associated with extreme climate and weather events such as floods and drought. 
 
“We cannot contend ourselves by responding to disasters...we need to act on prevention and preparedness. To do so, we need to anticipate up-coming extreme events,” he said.
 
Deputy Minister of Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba said the economies of most countries in the Greater Horn of Africa and also in Tanzania depend on rain-fed agriculture and; “this makes rainfall variability and forecasting a subject of major concern to all.”
 
“In this regard, we need to know in advance if this year’s El Nino will have an adverse impact in the region, so as to inform the decision makers and planners well in advance,” he said.
 
On his part, IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) Director Dr Guleid Artan said Climate change would increase vulnerability of the region to weather related hazards and threaten safety and sustainable development efforts.
 
He said in the GHA region about 80 per cent of disasters are climate related; “I would like to assure the participants that ICPAC will continue to organise GHACOFs and assist the participating National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMGSs) to downscale regional climate products to national and sub-national levels,” he said.
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