Rains kill five, leave 2, 500 homeless in Kyela District

A resident of Kyela District fleeing her home yesterday. Unusually heavy rains that have pounded the district for several days have washed away homes and destroyed key infrastructure. PHOTO | GODFREY KAHANGO

Kyela. Five people died and 2, 570 others have been left homeless in Kyela District following unusually heavy rains that pounded the region for several days.

The rains have destroyed 438 homes and cut off many areas in seven worst-hit wards in Mbeya Region. The Citizen has witnessed desperate residents fleeing to special camps set up by district authorities, mainly in religious and shools facilities.

District Administrative Secretary (DAS), Ms Salome Magambo, said the victims came from seven wards namely Ikama, Mwaya, Matema, Katumba Songwe, Bujonde, Talatala and Kajunjumele. “Some 1,990 displaced people are accommodated in 14 camps. Fortunately, the remaining survivors have been given refuge by relatives and friends,” she said as she called on individuals and institutions to come out to give moral and material support to victims.

At least seven primary and secondary schools have temporarily suspended studies, noting that only Standard Seven pupils and Form Four students were required to attend classes in the schools.

The impact of the floods have been by ongoing heavy rains at the Rungwe Mountains that have caused Mbaka River that pours its waters on Lke Nyasa to overflow and cause flooding in the lowlands. Masebe Village chairman Saimon Mwakubuja said victims lacked food, medicine and clothes after their properties were swept away by floods.

“The situation is alarming. Five cattle have been recovered dead and many more are missing. The river has flooded to the extent that it is difficult to recognize its profile.”

A resident of Masebe Village who is accommodated at the village’s primary school Ms Rehema Itenda said: “The floods caught us unprepared. We woke up on to find home utensils sailing before finding ourselves on top of flood waters. Our foodstuffs, clothes and livestock have been washed away by floods.”