Ravaged by Rain: Dar es Salaam floods wreak havoc, displacing residents and crippling Infrastructure

People walk on a flooded section of Morogoro Road, which was closed to traffic following several days of heavy rain in Dar es Salaam. PHOTO | FILE

Dar es Salaam. Two days of relentless downpours have wreaked havoc on Dar es Salaam, the nation's bustling commercial heart.

Homes lie submerged, bridges crumble, and roads glisten like drowned rivers, leaving residents reeling from the floods' destructive wrath.

Landmark infrastructure like Kunduchi Bridge and Panya Boyi Bridge have succumbed to the swelling waters, severing vital connections between city districts. Power lines dangle precariously, plunging neighborhoods into darkness, and transportation networks are choked with debris and raging torrents.

Those living closest to rivers bear the brunt of the disaster. Homes are inundated, possessions lost, and families forced to flee their waterlogged havens. Rescue efforts are underway, plucking stranded residents from rooftops and navigating flooded streets in makeshift boats.

Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Jumanne Muliro confirmed bridge and road damage, urging caution and urging residents to avoid flooded areas. Mbagala Constituency legislator Abdallah Chaurembo echoes the concerns, reporting widespread roof damage and displaced families.

The Tanzania Meteorological Authority's (TMA) grim forecast materialized, with heavy rain accompanied by 40km/h winds lashing 13 regions, including Dar es Salaam. Two-meter waves churn along the Indian Ocean coast, adding to the city's woes.

Shaban Manamba, a Tegeta Darajani resident, recounts his harrowing escape with his family as floodwaters engulfed his home. A nearby guesthouse lies in ruins, washed away by the relentless tide. Veronika Simon, another Tegeta resident, lost everything, her house swept away, leaving her and her three children with nowhere to turn.

Joyce Mbikilwa, a Tegeta Azania resident, points fingers at leaders who own vast swathes of undeveloped land, while families struggle to find affordable housing. "Why don't they share their land with the needy?" she laments, urging President Samia Suluhu Hassan to intervene.

Beyond homes, the floods inflict economic damage. Mohammed John, a Mbezi Beach bricks trader, mourns over 6,000 bricks damaged by the deluge. Pastor Thobias Lubeda lost his church to the rampaging waters, valuables like computers washed away.

Amidst the devastation, community spirit shines. Kitonga Street Chairperson Bakari Kanyongo reports 10 houses with roofs ripped off by the wind, but neighbors are banding together to help each other. In Mabwepande Ward, residents grapple with the destruction of the Panya Boyi Bridge and the devastation in Kidogoya and Kasumuni areas, but they stand united in their resilience.

The rain shows no signs of abating, and the extent of the damage is still unfolding. The city grapples with a humanitarian crisis, displaced families, and a crippled infrastructure. As the floodwaters recede, the task of rebuilding and recovering will be immense.