Tanzania: Govt Responds to Floods
Somali fisherman alone in Paris after acquittal
Dar es Salaam — The government went into top gear yesterday to assist thousands of people affected by the record-breaking floods that hit Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
As President Jakaya Kikwete toured several areas affected by the floods, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda headed a crisis meeting in his office that all permanent secretaries attended.
The Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli, ordered Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads) to use its own experts and money from the National Road Board Fund to make sure that damaged roads and bridges were rehabilitated as soon as possible.
Addressing thousands of people at Mchikichini Primary School after visiting the areas affected, Mr Kikwete said the floods should serve as a lesson. He wants all residents of flood-prone areas evicted when things calm down.
"We cannot continue to deal with such calamities every year," the President said. "After this, the regional administration should provide plots where people from the valleys can be shifted to."
Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadick said some 2,000 hectares of land were available and would be surveyed for distribution to the residents in the valley. More than 4,900 people displaced by the floods yesterday started receiving basic necessities such as food, blankets, mattresses and health services at centres set up within the camps.
President Kikwete, who cut short his visit to Mara Region, ordered the services at the camps improved to ease the lives of those displaced. The ultimate goal, he said, should be a permanent solution to the floods, which affect the same areas virtually every year.
The message from the president to the people living in valleys was clear: There is no option but to vacate houses built in risky areas and there is no possibility of ever building again in such locations.
"Why should we suffer every time the floods come?" Mr Kikwete said. "Let's find a permanent solution to this problem, and this is nothing other than to evict all people from these areas and be strict about stopping them from coming back."
He nevertheless assured the victims of full support from the government until they are resettled.According to Mr Sadick, the death toll had risen to 20 by yesterday and could rise as many people were still missing. Some 18 bodies have been identified. City residents who cannot find their relatives have been advised to check the two bodies lying at Muhimbili National Hospital mortuary.
Meanwhile, Dr Magufuli said this was not the time for engineers to sit in their offices and complain. "We are facing a disaster and it is an appropriate time for the experts to show their expertise by going to the field and assisting in restoring infrastructure that has been damaged," the no-nonsense minister said.
He warned that lazy engineers risked losing their jobs in the wake of the floods that have wreaked havoc on the road network, particularly in Dar es Salaam.He was speaking yesterday on the occasion of signing contracts for the implementation of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport programme (DART).
The minister had harsh words for engineers who have reportedly failed to fast track the repair of damaged bridges and roads. He directed the Tanroads Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Patrick Mfugale, to take stern action, including firing engineers who are all talk and little or no action when it comes to repairing damaged infrastructure.
Dr Magufuli said: "Repairs should start immediately the roads are damaged. The government has enough money under the roads fund. We have Sh300 billion in the fund. The money can also exceed the budgeted funds."
The damaged Lugalo Bridge could be repaired, he added. "Just tell the contractor, Konoike, because we have paid them Sh88 billion for extension of Bagamoyo Road. Even the split Mandela Road Bridge can be repaired because we have given the contractor one more year for completion of the work."
Filter by Country
- Cote d'Ivoire
- South Africa
- Congo Dem Republic
- Central African Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- Burkina Faso
- The Gambia
- Sao Tome and Principe
- South Sudan
- Cape Verde
- Western Sahara