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Tanzania flooding continues, fatalities and casualties rise; the climate-change factor is on display

As East African, coastal country, Tanzania should be approaching its so-termed short rainy season which usually lasts from October to early December, fatalities are rising, while 120 people were injured in the Katesh Town area, north of the Capital Dodoma, Hanang District, western Manyara Region, mainly due to landslides which occurred on December 2 to the 3, according to local media. In addition, media also reports a total of approximately 1,150 damaged houses across the affected area. Over the next 96 hours, more heavy rainfall with locally very heavy rainfall is still forecast over the whole country

According to the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, heavy rainfall has been affecting northern, western and eastern Tanzania since mid-October due to the so-termed short rainy season that lasts from October to December causing floods, flash floods, rivers overflow and triggering landslides that have resulted in more casualties and widespread damage.

The worst affected areas are the Arusha Region in the north bordering with southern Kenya, the Kigoma and Kagera Regions in the west bordering with Rwanda and Burundi and the Coast Region as well as the Zanzibar Island in the east. Also Dar es Salaam, the main city of the country was severely affected.

Known for its vast wilderness areas that include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain, people have also often heard of its tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and Mafia, with a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs.

The United Republic of Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa spanning 945,087 square kilometers and boasts the highest point in Africa, with Mount Kilimanjaro standing 5,950 meters high. Highland areas dominate the country except for the coastal strip along the Indian Ocean. The central plateau sits 900-1,800 meters above sea level and is dotted with mountain ranges.

Following two decades of sustained growth, Tanzania reached an important milestone in July 2020, when it formally graduated from low-income country to lower-middle-income country status.

Tanzania’s growth is supported by its industrial, construction, and agricultural sectors. The country’s population is approximately 59.7 million (2020) people. Tanzania’s rapid population growth has caused the number of people living below the national poverty line to steadily increase. Because a large share of Tanzania’s population is close to the poverty line, even a mild economic shock can push numerous households into poverty, including impacts of climate change.

Tanzania is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on coastal zones, public health, energy supply and demand, infrastructure, water resources, agricultural production and availability of ecosystem goods and services.

Tanzania is prone to risks from extreme weather events such as increased seasonal variation in rainfall and temperature, and frequent and prolonged droughts and floods.

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