AFRICA/TANZANIA - Floods in Rufiji: Hundreds displaced, crops destroyed, population at risk of epidemics and malnutrition

Monday, 15 April 2024

Muhoro (Agenzia Fides) - The Rufiji region in western Tanzania is facing enormous difficulties and the district is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises. Thousands of people need immediate humanitarian assistance in various areas, including healthcare, nutrition, drinking water and sanitation. There is a risk of diseases transmitted through contaminated water spreading. This is reported by the Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS), the organization that intervenes immediately to help the thousands of displaced people seriously affected by the floods. According to a statement from CADIS, sent to Fides, the recent floods of April 4, 2024 have caused great devastation, displacing thousands of families who are now in urgent need of assistance. Homes have been destroyed, crops washed away and access to drinking water and essential services disrupted. Particularly at risk are the most vulnerable members of the community, including women, children and the elderly, who need urgent support. In Muhoro district, where 75 percent of the area is under water, around 17,000 people have been affected: they have been made homeless and are now living in primary school buildings without basic services. About 1,000 people were displaced in Chumbi district. This year's floods have inundated 28,374 hectares of agricultural land and destroyed crops such as corn, rice, sesame and bananas. CADIS' Tanzania office is working with the government, local communities and humanitarian organizations to address this emergency and reduce the high rates of disease and mortality caused by poor nutrition and sanitation and a lack of clean water in the country shelters and evacuation centers for internally displaced people (IDPs). The Camillian organization will primarily work in the areas of health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, especially for mothers and children, as well as providing water purification tablets, temporary toilets, handwashing facilities and clothing. Due to its geographical location and seasonal rainfall patterns, the area has historically been prone to flooding. The situation has been exacerbated by the construction and operation of the Nyerere hydroelectric dam. On the one hand, the dam represents an important source of renewable energy for Tanzania, on the other hand, it has changed the natural course of the Rufiji river, thereby increasing the risk of flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 15/4/2024)