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Downpour brings Dar to standstill

BUSINESS came to a standstill in many parts of Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam due to heavy rains which pounded the city for the better day of yesterday, making roads impassable and consequently disrupting road transport.

The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA)’s Manager for Weather Forecasting Services, Mr Samuel Mbuya, had earlier warned of the rains through a public statement.

The meteorologist attributed the downpour to the strengthening of rainfall making mechanism in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

“Members of the public should take requisite precautions by avoiding staying in low lying areas and sitting under trees,” Mr Mbuya warned in the statement.

According to the statement by TMA, other regions which were affected by the rains in- cluded Dodoma, Singida, Tanga, and Coast as well as northern parts of Morogoro and Unguja and Pemba islands.

“The rains are expected to continue until later this afternoon (yesterday) after which they are expected to reduce and the condition will return to normal,” he explained.

In Dar es Salaam, the rains were accompanied by thunderstorms and dark clouds.

Due to poor drainage system and lack of proper infrastructure for storm water, many waterways and roads were flooded.

The rains which started early morning yesterday left many people with no means to travel to their work places since many roads were impassable and public transport was problematic.

Residents of Tabata Kimanga faced a challenge of crossing the bridge at Chama area since it was flooded, making it impassable for motor vehicles, rickshaws and motorcycles for hire, commonly known as ‘bodaboda’.

The situation was the same at Tabata Relini and Tabata Kisiwani areas as residents were forced to trek as roads were not passable.

It was however a blessing in disguise for some people who capitalised on the occurrence to ferry people across the bridge on their back at a fee of 1,000/- per person.

The downpour led to the closure of the section of Morogoro Road between the headquarters of the Tanzania Fire Brigade and Magomeni Mapipa area.

The stretch from Kariakoo to Kigogo across Jangwani area was also closed due to overflowing of water on the road.

The United Nations Road was also affected by the rains as the road was flooded between Muhimbili area and Al-Muntanzir school.

The same was along Malik Road at the headquarters of Tanzania Scouts Association.

Meanwhile, a Tabata Segerea resident, Wilson Kaigarula, sketched his experience thus: When I heard rain drops tapping the roof of our family house, I was tremendously delighted because I felt that I would be relieved of the merciless heat that had lately been torturing me, my relatively old age making me particularly vulnerable.

How nice it would be, so I mused, that I would be spared the agony of waking up several times during the night to sip water in order to cool my body, which had, to put it lightly, become a virtual human version of an overheating motor vehicle engine.

The drops, moreover, so I unknowingly cheated myself, represented light rainfall, which would soon vanish and give way to mild sunshine not long after daybreak, as often happens.

Fantasy turned to gloom when my children (my wife having left earlier for the airport for an upcountry flight) frantically briefed me about our compound being consistently flooded as the drainage of the main road in the neighourhood had been overwhelmed, excess water rushing to wherever there were openings.

Braving above-knee level water, we converted ourselves into a water-taming brigade that, by sheer divine providence, managed to prevent it from gushing into the house.

Some family units became “rain refugees” by sheltering in neighbours’ houses.

I was partially amused and partly perceived it as a miracle, that my vehicle ride along the traditionally queue-notorious Tabata Relini-Buguruni stretch along Nelson Mandela Expressway was one of the fastest and smoothest.

I subsequently learnt that there were far fewer vehicles on the road as many had become stuck in flooded feeder roads and were thus not “promoted” to major highway use status. The bottom line is that rain is alternately a blessing and a curse.

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Author: ALVAR MWAKYUSA

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