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Tanzania: Landslide death toll rises to 76

Tanzania: Landslide death toll rises to 76
Flooded streets seen from the air in the town of Katesh, Tanzania, December 3, 2023   -  
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At least 76 people were killed in landslides caused by heavy rains in northern Tanzania last week, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who visited the scene, said on Thursday.

“This disaster cost the lives of 76 people in the Katesh region,” about 300 km north of the capital Dodoma, lamented the head of state after meeting survivors.

These torrential rains during the night from Saturday to Sunday "are also a wake-up call for the government to take the necessary measures to detect the signs and alert people in advance to avoid serious consequences like these", continued Samia Suluhu Hassan, specifying that this “catastrophe also destroyed infrastructure and economic activity”.

“We now have the task of restoring the situation here,” she also declared, after having cut short her trip to COP28 in Dubai to go to the scene. A previous report given Tuesday by the authorities reported 65 deaths.

Images broadcast following the bad weather by local television channels showed streets littered with the debris of houses. These landslides displaced some 600 people, government spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi said on Tuesday.

East Africa has been hit for weeks by torrential rains and floods linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which have displaced more than a million people in Somalia and caused more than 300 deaths in the region.

El Niño, typically associated with rising temperatures, droughts in some parts of the world, and heavy rains in others, is expected to last through April.

This meteorological phenomenon has already wreaked havoc in eastern Africa. From October 1997 to January 1998, gigantic floods fueled by torrential rains it caused caused more than 6,000 deaths in five countries in the region.

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