Tanga districts count the cost of floods calamity

The Handeni/Korogwe road section was washed away following the ongoing heavy rains at Sindeni in Handeni District in Tanga Region on Saturday. PHOTO|RAJABU ATHUMANI.

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Businesses came to a halt as excessive rains disrupt movement of people and goods as farms are flooded.

Arusha. With the skies signalling the persistence  of rains, Handeni and Korogwe Districts in Tanga Region are counting on economic losses from last week’s heavy downpour.
Officials reached yesterday confirmed that disrupted transport due to damage or flooding of bridges has impeded businesses through curtailed movement of people and goods. There are also fears that the unexpected rains may spell doom to the farmers as hundreds of hectares of the agricultural fields have been flooded and crops destroyed.
“If the rains persist, people may even fail to reach the markets or travel buy the essential agricultural inputs for the coming farming season,” said  Mr William Makufwe, the Handeni District executive director.
He told The Citizen on phone that up to 15 bridges in the roads managed by the Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (Tarura) in the district have been damaged.
The situation, he added, was equally worrying for the highways operated by the National Roads Agency (Tanroads) which include a portion of the Dar es Salaam-Arusha road and Korogwe-Handeni- Mkata  section. He said efforts were underway to rehabilitate them but admitted that the exercise would take longer time for the structures severely damaged by the raging waters.
According to him, while the damaged roads have made some villages in the vast district impassable,by Sunday about 40 houses have been damaged and 70 surrounded by water.
Sources said a total of 14 people have lost lives in Handeni district alone due to the floods. They include 10 people who drowned after  a vehicle they were travelling in capsized while crossing a flooded river.
Mr. Makufwe partly attributed the floods to heavy rains which recently pounded the neighbouring upstream districts of Kilindi, Kiteto and Simanjiro where many seasonal rivers cutting through Handeni originated.
The skies were briefly clear on Saturday when the flow of traffic between Arusha and Dar es Salaam which had stopped eased  but rains pounded again on Sunday.
The Korogwe District Commissioner, Kissa Mwangoka, said efforts would be made to strengthen the Mandera bridge - between Korogwe and Segera - including installing warning signs to motorists.