On December 7, 2023, Thursday, Katesh town's bus station in Hanang District, Manyara Region, resumed its bustling operations after a temporary halt caused by a devastating landslide. The landslide, that had occurred on December 3, 2023, caused a build-up of mud in the area, disrupting the bus services that are a lifeline for local and interstate commuters.
Back on Track
The bus station, now echoing the familiar sounds of large interstate buses, 'daladala', and 'Noah', is back to serving as the town's primary pick-up and drop-off point. Prior to the landslide, these vehicles had been forced to seek alternative locations such as the Njaki area and the outskirts of the main bus station on the Babati to Singida highway. Rescue teams and local citizens' concerted cleanup efforts have successfully removed the mud, enabling the station and surrounding businesses to reopen. The roads leading to the bus station and other affected locations have also been cleared of mud.
A Glimmer of Hope Amidst Devastation
Driver John Vincent, one of the many affected by the disruption, expressed gratitude for the resumption of services at the station. The once-devastated areas of Katesh and Gendabi are now on a path to normalcy, offering a glimmer of hope in the aftermath of the disaster. The nation woke to a shock as the mudslide's impact became evident, prompting President Samia Suluhu Hassan to cut short her visit to Dubai for the COP28 climate talks. The erosion of nearby Mount Hanang has been identified as the primary cause of the mudslides, according to government spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi.
The Long Road to Recovery
As of Wednesday, December 6, 2023, the death toll from the landslide had risen to 69, while the number of injured decreased from 117 to 45, with some recovering and being discharged from hospitals. About 1,150 houses were damaged, and 750 acres of crops were destroyed by the catastrophe. Some 5,600 people have been displaced by the disaster. The floods have exacerbated the region's humanitarian crisis, already grappling with the aftermath of the worst drought in four decades. The country's meteorology agency has issued warnings of heavy rainfall for the remainder of December, signaling a potential extension of the ordeal.