THURSDAY December 7, 2023
By Adam Ihucha
The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania
Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) has stepped up an emergency relief valued at $51,200 to victims of deadly mudslides that rocked Katesh township in Hanang’ District, Manyara Region, Tanzania, early December 2023.
It rained cats and dogs in Katesh and its environs on the day, leading part of the nearby Mount Hanang to collapse, with boulders burying households and flora and fauna as they slid down the foothills to a number of villages before they reached the township.
Available data says the death toll from the mishap had reached 76 on Thursday, with rescue teams still continuing to search for bodies stuck in the mud.
Waking up to the grisly news, TATO Board was quick to call off the association’s 40th anniversary celebrations and re-allocating the members’ contributions earmarked for a diner gala slated for December 9, 2023, in Arusha, for the emergency relief.
“We’ve allocated the contributions for our Hanang’ brothers and sisters in terms of food and other amenities,” TATO Chairman Wilbard Chambulo said during the handing over of the humanitarian aid.
“Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones, and we stand in solidarity with the communities grappling with the aftermath of this natural catastrophe,” the TATO Chief said before the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Angellah Kairuki, who received the donation on behalf of the government.
Mr Chambulo said the emergency relief comprised 37,800 litres of mineral water, 2,000 litres of cooking oil, 10 tonnes of wheat flour and 4,000 corrugated iron sheets.
“This contribution aims at providing immediate support to those in dire need for them to rebuild their lives shattered by this unfortunate incident,” he said, adding:
“TATO acknowledges the urgency of the situation and remains committed to assisting the Hanang’ communities throughout the recovery process.”
Mr Chambulo explained that the relief would address immediate nutritional, hygiene, and clothing requirements of the affected families.
Receiving the relief, Minister Kairuki extolled TATO for putting its shoulder to wheel in complimenting the government’s efforts to help restore hope and remedy the lives of affected persons.
“I’m so grateful to TATO members for your generous hearts. I urge other corporate bodies to borrow a leaf from the TATO book by joining forces with the government to mitigate the impact of the mudslides on the survivors,” Ms Kairuki said.
TATO is a leading organisation dedicated to promoting and enhancing the tourism industry in Tanzania.
Comprising reputable tour operators, TATO works towards ensuring sustainable and responsible tourism practices, contributing to the socio-economic development of Tanzania.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan had, as a result of the tragedy, to cut short her tour of Dubai to visit the district on Thursday to physically express her sympathy to bereaved families.
Well on her way back from Dubai, Dr Samia, who doubles as the Commander in Chief of Defence Forces, directed her administration to deploy over 1,200 soldiers and officials from 12 ministries to the besieged district to recover bodies from the mud and to restore infrastructure.
Addressing a public rally in Katesh township on Thursday, Dr Samia said she had already received over $1 million from international well wishers in support of the survivors of the tragedy.
“I have directed regional and district authorities to carry out a thorough analysis of the disaster to, among other things, ascertain property lost and farms covered by the mud,” said Dr Samia, promising the victims that a resettlement plan for them would ensue.
Dr Samia said her government would take the tragedy as lesson for its preparedness towards future natural calamities.
Briefing the President, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament and Coordination) Jenister Mhagama allayed the fear of volcano erupting on the Hanang’ Mountain.
Minister Mhagama said preliminary findings of an analysis of the disaster indicated that rocks which were long socked with water had actually seeped out the mud.
Chief Government’s Spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi reportedly said the government had also deployed clinical psychologists to counsel about 5,600 victims and bereaved families from 1,150 affected households.
Matinyi said 72 injured persons had been discharged from health facilities by Wednesday, leaving behind 45 others within the facilities and 291 others rendered homeless at designated cetres in the Katesh townshipΩ