Hanang Mudslide: Focus shifts to students as schools reopen

MANYARA: WITH more than 500 survivors of the mudslide that occurred in Hanang District, Manyara region last December already reunited with their families, social welfare officers have turned their focus on ensuring that pupils and students have all the necessary resources as schools reopen next week.

The families had been separated following the chaos that ensued after the massive Mount Hanang landslides, which claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

“Starting in January 2024 and for the next three months, we will specifically be targeting children, especially pupils and students who are supposed to be returning to their respective schools for another academic year,” explained Mr Tomic Simbeye, a team leader of Social Welfare Officers, speaking on behalf of the others.

“We are making sure that all the basic needs and facilities they may require as they go back to school are provided,” said the team leader.

Simbeye from the SWO stated that they have been providing and overseeing the distribution of other essential services, including food, medicine, clothing and shelter, to affected villagers.

On the other hand, at least 3,000 surviving victims of the disaster have received physical and mental health support, with local officials still working to reach the remaining 6,000 individuals in need.

Social welfare officers from across the country have set up camp in Katesh Township of Hanang to assist the district residents who were injured and suffered significant losses during the landslide that buried several households in December 2023.

Simbeye noted that during the first week, they provided first aid to survivors and others who were injured during the devastating avalanche.

“From the second week, we started providing intensive mental health psychotherapy support to those who were most affected by the trauma experienced during the natural disaster,” he said.

These services were provided in collaboration with mental health experts from top medical facilities in Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, and Dar es Salaam.

The social welfare officers will spend the first four months of 2024 ensuring that every victim of the avalanche is reached and attended to.

They will also work on establishing new homes for children who lost parents, relatives and guardians during the Hanang landslide in December 2023, as many of them have been left orphaned.

More than 100 victims were reported dead, thousands were injured and several others are still believed to be missing a month after the tragic event.

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