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Tanzania: landslide death toll hits 47

A general view of a severely damaged home and of the road infrastructure following heavy rains and winds   -  
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Landslides in northern Tanzania have killed at least 47 people and injured 85 others following landslides caused by torrential rain on Saturday, according to a local official.

Queen Sendiga, regional commissioner in the Manyara area of northern Tanzania, spoke to local media on Sunday evening and warned that the death toll could rise. 

Heavy rains began on Saturday in the town of Katesh, around 300 kilometres north of the capital Dodoma. The rains caused flooding and then landslides. 

Extreme weather

After a period of severe drought, East Africa has in recent weeks been hit by torrential rain and flooding, linked to the El Nino weather event.

In Somalia flooding has displaced more than a million people, while in Kenya, hundreds have been displaced in the country's northwest.

El Nino's impact can be exacerbated by climate change, according to scientists. 

With the East African region extremely vulnerable to climate change, extreme weather is increasingly likely.

Climate change

The landslides occurred as global leaders are meeting for the COP28 climate talks in Dubai. 

Tanzania's president Samia Suluhu Hassan offered her condolences to those affected by the landslides and said she had ordered the deployment of resources to help victims.

"I have directed all the government resources for search and rescue efforts in order to avoid more deaths," said Hassan. "I have also directed all our defence and security agencies to the scene, and the ministry of health to attend to those injured. The mining ministry will also assess areas where mountains have shown signs of collapsing."

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