As the country continues to mourn 32 pupils, two teachers and a driver, killed in the grisly accident on Rhotia Hills near Karatu town a week ago. In Tanzania Isles of Zanzibar, the government has closed schools for a week to avoid continuing rains.
Further on the mainland hundreds of travelers on long routes from one region to another have found themselves stranded as the flooded roads have made it dangerous to proceed, with traffic police on full alert following a string of accidents directly attributable to the road mayhem.
Motorists in big cities such as Dar es Salaam have also had to contend with snail’s-pace traffic caused by dangers posed by fresh, new potholes popping up on roads that have virtually turned into flowing rivers.
Tanga regional police commander Frasser Kashai told The Guardian in a telephone interview that the busy Chalinze-Moshi highway plied by hundreds of travellers every day became impassable for part of yesterday after being submerged in water around the Mombo and Mkumbala section in the region.
Kashai said the water flowed down from the Korogwe and Lushoto mountains, turning the road into a river. “We have stopped buses on both sides of the flooded section to avoid any risk,” he added.
Later in the day when the water began to recede, the RPC said the police permitted traffic to pass through the section at slow speed and one-bus-at-a-time style, only to close it again in the evening.
“For safety reasons, no passenger buses or private motor vehicles will be allowed to cross the area after 7 pm,” he said.
Vehicles that did not make it across in time would have to wait until (tomorrow) today, Kashai explained, adding that the decision was made to avoid any catastrophes if the rains intensified during the night, as has been the case in recent days.
Media reports yesterday indicated that Lushoto remained disconnected from the rest of the country following a landslide caused by the rain in the Usambara mountains.
In another development, heavy rains have destroyed swathes of rice farms in five wards within the Rufiji River delta in Coast Region, where the crop is popular among farmers as both a food and cash crop.
Kibiti district council chairman Khatibu Chaurembo mentioned the wards affected as Salali, Mtunda, Mpakakioni, Kongoloni and Mbuchi. He said the council has sent a team of experts to conduct an evaluation exercise.
"Rice farmers always celebrate when the rains begin, but we have not experienced such destructive rains as this for the past 10 years,” Chaurembo told The Guardian.
He said the council will consult with district and regional disaster coordination committees to see how rice farmers who have seen their heavy investments disappear with the floods can be assisted.
Meanwhile, schools in Zanzibar have been temporarily closed down due to the ongoing heavy rains which have triggered floods, Isles Minister for Education and Vocational Training Riziki Pembe Juma said on Wednesday
Prolonged rains have cause landslides at Kitonga in Iringa region along highway to Zambia
According to Juma, the downpour has been hitting both Unguja and Pemba islands for the past three weeks and also destroyed road infrastructures and people’s properties.
She said some schools had become engulfed with water, making it very difficult for teachers to do their job and, in many areas, for children to get to school.
The minister explained that the decision to close down the schools, both public and private, was reached on recommendation from the Zanzibar Disasters Committee, for the safety of the children.
The Tanzania Metrological Agency (TMA) has said that periods of heavy rainfall are likely to continue in some parts of the country, especially the coastal strip, during the month of May.
According to its monthly forecast, showers with occasional thunderstorms are expected in some areas in the regions of Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, and Coast, as well as Unguja and Pemba islands.
TMA director of research and applied meteorology Dr Ladislaus Chang’a said in an interview that the general public should take precautions to avoid another wave of water-related diseases caused by the weather.
He said the ongoing rainy season (masika) is expected to continue during the whole month of May in most areas of the northern coast, Lake Victoria basin, and north-eastern highlands.
According to Chang’a, the rains are the result of continued enhancement of a rainfall-making mechanism over the northern coast.
The regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara will experience rain showers with occasional thunderstorms, while in the Lake Victoria basin (Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Mwanza, Mara, and Simiyu regions), rain showers with thunderstorms are also expected, mainly during the first half of the month.
In Kigoma, Katavi and Tabora regions to the west, occasional rain showers with thunderstorms are expected, and in Dodoma and Singida regions, the forecast is occasional rains with isolated thunderstorms.
The south-western highlands (Rukwa, Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya regions) will experience occasional rain showers and isolated thunderstorms, while Mtwara and Lindi regions on the southern coast will get frequent rain showers and thunderstorms.
Ruvuma Region will experience occasional rain showers and isolated thunderstorms.