Samia visits affected places, listens to survivors

HANGANG: UPON her arrival yesterday in Hanang District, Manyara Region, President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan observed in person the magnitude of effects of the mudslide in Katesh Township as she met with survivors and heard their accounts.

President Samia began her field visit at around noon at a place where the mudflow passed sweeping everything in its path.

Briefing the President, Manyara Regional Commissioner Queen Sendiga said since day one of the disaster soldiers in collaboration with citizens gone down to business by removing  mud and other debris while searching for  dead bodies.

Ms Sendiga explained that security was also heightened surrounding houses whose owners evacuated.

“We have been moving around the whole affected place. The affected area is vast,” she told the President.

Elaborating, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs and Coordination), Ms Jenista Mhagama said: “We thank the defence and security organs because there were places where was hard to recover bodies covered by logs. The soldiers had to use saws to cut logs to recover bodies.”

“For instance, yesterday (Wednesday) some residents told us that they suspected that one of kiosk owner could be buried under the debris here. We decided to remove the debris and we found two bodies,” Ms Mhagama narrated.

The Head of State also offered an opportunity to one of survivors who witnessed the disaster unfolding to give her testimony.

“Where you stand right now is my farm. I witnessed the mudslide with my eyes. It was 5:45am when I felt a strong vibration that the one we normally hear from a soil compaction machine at the road construction site. I tried to get out of the house to see what was going on but when I opened the door, the running muddy water found its way into my house.  We escaped to a safe place,” explained a survivor whose name could not immediately be established.

He told Dr Samia that at the area where there were nine houses, only one remained, with her neighbour losing three children.

“It is God’s work, we need to thank for everything. The disaster like this also had occurred in Malawi sometimes last year,” President Samia consoled the victims.

The Head of State visited and greeted some groups of survivors who were waiting for the while comforting them.

“I was on trip when this occurred, I had to cut short my working trip and come back to see what happened here in person. These are God’s acts, we should accept and thank Him. These are natural disasters. This is a national tragedy,” he told the gathering as she assured that the government was always with them.

At another point, she visited a camp of disaster survivors where she   heard their feelings and concerns.

She also consoled them and assured that the government stood with them.

One of survived woman, identified herself as Veronica Mifunye told the President that she was mother of three.

The survivor asked the President on how the government could help them because before the disaster they were not a burden, but now they had turned into beggars.

“We also have children who depend on us to pay for their school fees. What should do now, we have lost direction. Another question is that we are farmers we have lost our farms,” she asked.

Responding, President Samia vowed that the government will not leave them alone, saying the government will make arrangements for supporting them.

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