Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique brace for El Niño Rains

Recent floods in Tanzania

Recent floods in Tanzania

Several African countries including Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique are bracing for El Niño rains that meteorologists warn may cause floods, serious crop losses and diseases.
The United Nations has also issued alerts, saying the other country on the list is Madagascar, and urged the states to take action to mitigate effects caused by landslides.

The Tanzanian government says measures to respond to any El Niño related effects have been put in place with the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) repeatedly issuing out warnings to nationals to prepare for the rains.

“A special team of experts has been formed to coordinate efforts and resources to mitigate the anticipated damage caused by the El Niño rains ,” the Disaster Management Coordinator in the Prime Ministry’s Office Nicodemus Butondo told reporters in Dar es Salaam.

Stephen O’Brien, Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs for UN announced that El Nino rains are anticipated in the countries between January and March.

“We have to act now, this would help save lives and livelihoods and prevent an even more serious humanitarian catastrophe from taking hold,”he cautioned. Tanzania last experienced El Nino rains in the 1997/98 season that resulted in high incidents of diseases mainly Malaria.

The UN warns that with the impending severe rains, projections are clear that about 3 million people will be affected by the floods while more than 22 million people in the region are at risk of facing food security problems.

The Director General, Tanzania Meteorological Agency Dr Agnes Kijazi told reporters that the rains are expected to last until April, adding that the El Nino rains are due to an increase in ocean temperatures in the tropical zone of the Pacific Ocean which have already risen by 2 degrees centigrade.

Later last year, the government embarked on a countrywide campaign to relocate all people in flood-prone areas. More than 500 structures were pulled down by authorities in the ‘denger zone’ Msimbazi valley. But government has through the Minister in the Vice President (Union and Environment) January Makamba and Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development Minister William Lukuvi called off the exercise citing little preparedness of people.