The TMA’s Director General, Agnes Kijazi told The Guardian that the ongoing rains in Dar es Salaam were off-season and expected to last for a short time.
Kijazi said that according to weather forecast the rains in Dar es Salaam were expected between October and December last year but it was not so because of divergences.
She explained that seasonal rains would continue in other parts of the country especially for unimodal areas — that receive rains once annually— up to April this year.
“These areas have been getting rains since November last year thus the moisture had increased and the soil cannot hold more water thus resulting into floods,’ she said.
The areas which experience seasonal rains were the southern highlands which include regions of Mbeya, Iringa, Njombe Ruvuma, Rukwa and central regions of Dodoma, Singida
Early this month, the agency released a statement warning that there would be heavy rains that would cause floods in some parts of the country.
“There is a greater than 90 per cent chance of the weather phenomenon wreaking havoc with 80 per cent likelihood of lasting until April, this year,” the statement noted.
In 1997, El Nino rains, which were described by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation as the biggest on record in the region, induced floods that left dozens of people dead and rendered thousands homeless.
The rains, which pounded several East African countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, rendered a record 10 million people requiring emergency food aid.
The 1997/98 El Nino rains, which began falling in November 1997 and lasted through March 1998, devastated most parts of Mara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga and Shinyanga regions.
But last week, the government said that it had coordinated efforts and resources to mitigate the expected damage of the effects rains might cause..
“A special team consisting of ministry officials from various state agencies, including the disaster management and health sectors, have been formed to coordinate the efforts to mitigate the expected damage the rains will cause”, according to the Coordinator for Disaster Management in the Prime Minister’s Office Nicodemus Butondo.
Butondo told the Guardian in an exclusive interview that the government was well prepared with all the necessary resources to mitigate the expected damage of the El Nino rains will cause.
He said the warehouses in every zone countrywide were full of relief basic supplies that might be in need whenever the floods occur. He mentioned some of them as blankets, food, school uniforms, exercise books, home appliances and mattresses.
“We have all the equipment that people might need during disasters…our stores also have school materials for children”, he said.
He said in collaboration with stakeholders they have prepared all the rescue equipment for both marine and ground.
According to him, the stakeholders are the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra), National Service and Tanzania Red Cross Society (TRCS).
He said the National Service has already put in place temporary steel bridges and more had been ordered.
Butondo noted that focal persons have been trained and stationed at various places across the country. He said similar trainings were conducted by officials from the municipal levels.
He said village and ward disaster management committees were well organized. He called on people residing at low lands and flood-prone areas to move before the rains.