HANANG: ‘You’re not alone’

  • Solidarity in Hanang
  • President Samia to visit Hanang today
  • Death toll climbs to 69
  • Govt beefs search efforts
  • Tanzanians join forces to support victims
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MANYARA, Hanang THE death toll from mudflows that hit Hanang District, Manyara Region, has risen to 69 as rescue teams continue to search for bodies in the aftermath of the deadly disaster.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who cut short her working tour of Dubai following the tragedy that occurred last Sunday, is expected to visit the area today to comfort the bereaved families.

The government has deployed clinical psychologists and a total of 1,285 soldiers at Katesh to recover bodies from the mud that wiped out neighbourhoods in the northern region. Work to restore road infrastructure is ongoing.

Chief Government Spokesperson Mr Mobhare Matinyi briefed reporters yesterday, stating that the government had deployed counsellors to help victims and bereaved families cope with the massive losses.

“Psychologists have been brought here to help victims and the bereaved families cope with the massive losses,” he said.

According to the government’s chief spokesperson, at least 1,150 households, which equates to 5,600 people, have been affected, necessitating the need for psychologists.

Mr Matinyi further stated that the number of injured persons had dropped from 117 to 45, with those showing signs of recovery being discharged from hospitals.

At least 291 people have been sheltered at different designated centres in Katesh town, according to Mr Matinyi.

He also disclosed that the Ministry of Water had begun drilling wells to ensure a constant water supply in the area.

“Most of the water comes from Mt Hanang, but that is no longer the case after the mudslide swept away the catchment area up there,” he explained.

The restoration of Katesh Township and Hanang District at large has brought together 12 ministries, according to Mr Matinyi, along with more than 1,200 defence and security personnel.

He stated that these officers were assisting in clearing mud in the hope of finding more bodies.

For the second day in a row, the Chief Government Spokesperson ruled out volcanic eruption as the chief source of the deadly mudslide.

As far as the Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST) is concerned, there have been no eruptions as claimed by some.

The tragedy was exacerbated by the mudslide that cascaded with gigantic stones, trees, logs, and other debris, which caused all the damage, clarified Mr Matinyi.

While contributions and donations for the victims of the incident continued to pour in, the government had established the National Relief Fund Electronic Account, managed by the Central Bank.

Earlier yesterday, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Trulia Ackson visited and wished a speedy recovery to those admitted to different hospitals.

“Our parliament stands in solidarity with your MP and the people of Hanang as a whole,” he said.

Road authorities are working tirelessly to open up Katesh Township, which has been devastated by the mudslide.

This paper witnessed numerous excavators and other heavy machinery from both the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) and Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA) clearing the Manyara-Singida highway at Katesh and other feeder roads that have been covered in thick mud.

A source familiar with the road network restorations informed the ‘Daily News’ that everything was going according to plan, except for the midnight rainfall that somewhat affected their work.

This paper counted a total of 31 heavy machinery vehicles that were removing mud from the Manyara-Singida highway.

Members of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) were also present, armed with spades, clearing the piles of mud that have submerged not only vehicles but also some houses along the highway.

Works Minister Innocent Bashungwa assured Katesh residents that the road network would be restored by 6 p.m.

Mr Bashungwa, who made a brief stop at the road works, said the two agencies were working day and night to ensure that Katesh Township opens up.

“As you can all see, we are down to business despite the midnight rainfall that scared us a bit, but that hasn’t held us back in any way,” he said.

According to the Minister, some shops were opening up following the major restoration of the highway.

“You must have noticed the difference; it wasn’t like this a day after the disaster.”

Currently, the normally busy Katesh Bus Terminus cannot be accessed, with several minibuses suspending services since the mudslide hit the Township over the weekend.

The deadly mudslide swept away key road networks in the district, making them impassable.

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