Deadly mudslide hits Hanang

  • 47 dead bodies recovered
  •  President Samia sends condolences

MANYARA, Hanang: 48 people are feared dead and more than 300 households displaced as mudslide swept through Katesh township in Hanang District in Manyara Region on Sunday following an overnight heavy rains.

The torrential rain is also reported to have caused a slice of Mount Hanang to collapse, with the raging mud covering homes and anything that stood its way.

The Manyara Regional Commissioner, Queen Sendiga told reporters late yesterday that rescuers had recovered 47 dead bodies by late evening on Sunday and 85 injured people were rushed to Tumaini District Hospital in Hanang District, Manyara Referral Hospital and Babati District Council Marara hospital.

She said rescue work led by members of Tanzania People’s Defence Army (TPDF) needs additional support.

The RC said the situation was worse in Gendabi Ward near Mount Hanang where the mudslide began.

“That’s where the mountain spewed debris and houses in the village have been swept away by the mudslide. There are neither trees nor people,” said Ms Sendiga.

Earlier, Hanang District Executive Director, Francis Namaumbo told the ‘Daily News’ over the phone that the death toll had reached 48 while 82 people were admitted at different hospitals in serious conditions.

According to Mr Namaumbo, a huge part of the otherwise buzzing Katesh Township had been covered in mud, with many homes submerged.

“We fear that there could be many people trapped in mud especially in Gendabi village which is located on the Mountain’s foothills,” he said.

Mr Namaumbo further detailed that more bodies had been recovered by yesterday evening adding that rescuers were still digging in case more bodies were buried under the mud.

“The toll could possibly rise as rescuers sift through mud and rubble of collapsed homes”.

Moreover, the Hanang DED said that the rainfall could have also triggered a volcano on the mountain, if reports of hot mud that cascaded from Tanzania’s third highest peak are anything to go by.

“There have been claims that the mud was hot, you cannot rule out such a scenario,” he said.

One of the survivors of the incident, John Rogath, a resident of Katesh town, said he heard a loud bang on top of the mountain and ran out of his house.

“We had to run out of the house because it was raining heavily and there was so much dust,” he narrated.

Mr Rogath recalled to have seen logs and huge trees getting washed away by the raging waters.

While he managed to escape the dreadful disaster, Mr Rogath could not trace some of his neighbours.

I’m still devastated.  I’m yet to hear from my two neighbours.

As Hanang continues to grapple with the aftermath of the devastating rainfall, authorities have asked residents to remain calm as rescuers continue searching for survivors.

Hanang District Council chairperson, Rose Kamili urged people living in flood-prone areas to relocate to higher ground as heavy rains and flash floods continued to wreak havoc in the area.

“We need to stay calm and let authorities to do their work,” she urged.

Meanwhile, President Samia Suluhu Hassan sent her deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the devastating incident.

President Samia directed the disaster management team and relevant ministries to promptly respond to the location in order to provide aid to the victims of the tragedy.

Dr Samia conveyed the massage on Sunday via a video clip from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where she is taking part at the ongoing conference of the Parties (COP 28) meeting.

“My colleagues and I, who are here, offer our deepest condolences to the victims of this incident. I must state that I have directed all government efforts to be channeled to the area to facilitate rescue efforts and avert other disasters from happening,” she said.

As we were going to press, a government team led by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament and Coordination), Jenista Mhagama had rushed to Hanang to support the rescue efforts.

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