Landslides caused by heavy rains in northern Tanzania left 47 dead and 85 injured, according to a still provisional report given on Sunday, December 3, by the regional commissioner of the affected district. “Rescue operations are still ongoing and we believe we will recover more bodies, especially from the mud,” Queen Sendiga continued. A previous report reported 20 dead and 70 injured.

Heavy rains have been sweeping the town of Katesh, in northern Tanzania, about 300 kilometers north of the capital Dodoma, since Saturday, causing landslides which swept away homes.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, traveling to Dubai to attend the 28th United Nations climate conference (COP28), offered her “condolences”, claiming to have “ordered the deployment” of relief to help the victims.

Earlier, Hanang district commissioner Janeth Mayanja said many roads were blocked due to “muddy waters which washed away trees and stones”. Images broadcast on state television TBC show many homes underwater and vehicles stuck in thick mud.

The main opposition party, Chadema, also offered its condolences to the families, and urged authorities to “strengthen early detection systems for calamities” and “issue alerts” to avoid these disasters.

The El Niño climatic phenomenon in question

After experiencing an unprecedented drought in 40 years, 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 dead in the region. El Niño, generally associated with rising temperatures, droughts in some parts of the world and heavy rains in others, is expected to last until April.

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

East Africa regularly experiences floods and landslides during the rainy seasons, the most intense of which occurs from March to May. In May, torrential rains caused devastating floods and landslides which left at least 130 dead in Rwanda.

At the end of 2019, two months of incessant rains leading to floods and mudslides killed at least 265 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the region, particularly in Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan. South.