Residents ordered to vacate Nyumba ya Mungu dam area over burst fears

Sunday February 16 2020

Nyumb ya Mungu Dam in Mwanga District,

Nyumb ya Mungu Dam in Mwanga District, Kilimanjaro Region. Authorities have ordered people living around the dam to vacate over fears of bursts and overflow. Photo | File 

By Daniel Mjema @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Moshi. People living around Nyumba ya Mungu Dam in Mwanga District, Kilimanjaro Region have been ordered to vacate over fears of bursts and overflowing amid heavy rains.

Water level at the dam has increased above normal due to the ongoing rains that started in September last year.

A “danger to life” flood warning was issued yesterday by the Mwanga district security committee, saying it won’t hesitate to use extra force to evacuate those who will defy the order.

The man-made reservoir, situated in the Pangani River Valley of the Masai Steppe, about 50 km south of Moshi, is fed by two major inflows; Kikuletwa and Ruvu rivers.

It was constructed for the purposes of irrigation, hydro-electric power and fish farming.

The Pangani Basin Water Officer (PBWO), Mr Philipo Patrick yesterday confirmed the rise of water level on the dam, noting that his office had already informed relevant local government authorities to ensure people evacuate the area for their safety. “There is a significant rise of water level since January 8, 2020. We have informed regional and district authorities as well as village leaders about the situation,” said Mr Patrick.

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Mwanga District Commissioner, Mr Thomas Apson said the district disaster committee was prepared to ensure people vacated voluntarily.

“It is true water levels in the dam have increased beyond normal. We have taken deliberate measures to prevent possible destructions,” said Mr Apson.

The DC said government authorities have consulted the Pangani Basin Water Office to deliberate on alternatives to control water flow.

“Through the district disaster committee and the Police Force, we are determined to make sure that residents living along the dam will be evacuated from effectively from tomorrow (Monday),” said the DC.

Shighatini Ward Councillor, Mr Enea Mrutu welcomed the move, saying it will prevent possible impacts of the disaster.

“Residents of Kiria Village are at high risk of being affected in case of floods,” he said. Mwanga legislator Prof Jumanne Maghembe allayed fears to residents, saying the level of water on the dam will decrease after rains have stopped.

“I think there will be no much damage after the downpour has stopped. There will be no other option than evacuating citizens if rains continue,” he said.