Don’t take El-Nino for granted, warns TMA

TANZANIA: THE Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) on Monday insisted that the projected moderate El-Nino rains are still around the corner, and will particularly pour down from November to December, this year.

The TMA made emphasis in Dar es Salaam as a continuation to its previous weather forecast report released in August this year for bimodal areas (short rainy) season between October and December this year.

Authority’s Acting Director General Dr Ladislaus Chang’a stated this at a media workshop yesterday, noting that the month of November and December will experience heavy rainfall.

The media workshop was also a platform to recognise and award journalists who performed well in publishing news about the meteorological matters.

“The El-Nino rains are still there, we should continue educating the public,” Dr Chang’a reminded the journalists.

Two weeks ago, the government unveiled its National El Niño Contingency Plan and Anticipatory Action for Tanzania Mainland, seeking to mitigate the most direct and immediate impacts of the anticipated rains forecasted between October and December 2023.

The nine-month plan (September 2023 to June 2024) was handed over for implementation to ministers by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Dr Dotto Biteko, during a meeting in Dodoma where the ministers discussed how it will be implemented.

Speaking after handing over the plan to the ministers, Dr Biteko said in the plan, the government had considered several key priority areas in disaster management by considering collective responsibility which includes coordination, precaution communications and assessment, emergency shelters and camps management.

Others, according to him are nutrition and food security, emergency medical services, water and sanitation, defence and security, emergency rescue measures, transport, communication and energy as well as massive awareness campaigns.

In August 2023, the TMA forecasted that most parts of the country are set to receive above normal to normal rains during the seasonal rains which are expected to be influenced by El-Nino conditions between October and December 2023.

The season, according to TMA, is specifically for areas that receive rains twice a year, which includes regions in Northeastern Highlands and few areas of the Eastern part of Lake Victoria basin. The regions are Kagera, Geita, Mwanza, Shinyanga, southern part of Simiyu, northern part of Kigoma, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast (including Mafia Island), northern part of Morogoro regions together with the isles of Unguja and Pemba.

Meanwhile, regions like Mara, northern Simiyu, Arusha, Manyara and Kilimanjaro are expected to receive average to above-average rainfall.

It emphasised that December will experience the most rainfall, with moderate El-Nino intensity.

In contrast, the 1997 and 1998 El-Nino events were strong, causing significant disasters and the 2006/2007 event was mild.

Given the predicted heavy rains, local and district authorities were warned of potential waterlogging and flooding that might cause infrastructure damage, loss of life and property.

They were also advised to enhance drainage systems, educate communities about precautions to take and strengthen disaster committees at village and district levels.

However, international climate agencies forecast a moderate to strong El Niño continuing into 2024. This will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and climate hazards, ranging from drought to floods and storms.

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