In the early hours of December 3, 2023, the peaceful district of Hanang in Tanzania was violently awoken by a catastrophic deluge. Overnight rains of an unprecedented magnitude led to a section of Mount Hanang collapsing, triggering landslides and mudflows in the Katesh and Gendabi areas. An estimated 47 people lost their lives to the calamity, with 85 others left nursing injuries.
Ground Zero: Hanang District
The most affected areas were the Gendabi ward and the center of Katesh town, which serves as the district headquarters for Hanang in the Manyara region. Floodwaters, carrying with them a lethal mix of debris from the mountain, engulfed numerous homes. The devastation rendered the vital Katesh-Singida road impassable, cutting off the district from essential services and supplies.
Stephen Samo, a resident of the beleaguered district, encapsulated the plight of his fellow citizens in his urgent call for aid. He implored the government to repair the damaged infrastructure, including roads and homes, and to provide immediate assistance with food and shelter to those affected.
Responding to the disaster from Dubai, where she is currently participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), President Samia Suluhu Hassan expressed her condolences to the victims. She directed government efforts towards swift rescue operations and the prevention of further disasters.
Ironically, Tanzania, despite its abundant water resources, struggles with ensuring clean and safe water access for many citizens. Water is often rationed, especially in rural areas, highlighting the urgent need for more efficient resource management. On another front, the country recently saw a decline in fuel prices, with new rates set for petrol, diesel, and kerosene, offering a glimmer of relief amidst the devastation.