‘All our kids are gone’ – Tanzanian town reels from floods


Marieta Banga tells the BBC that eight members of her family were killed by the weekend’s flooding and mudslides in northern Tanzania – and that all she remains with is pain.

Ms Banga, from the impacted Hanang district, said: “We heard a loud noise, rushed outside, and saw a mudslide and floods. Later, after the rain stopped, we… saw that no houses were left, nothing remained, and all our kids were gone.

“My brother’s kids – six of them – and their mother were also gone. Another relative who is staying with us was also gone.”

Record levels of rainfall over the weekend triggered mudslides in the town of Katesh and neighbouring villages, affecting hundreds of people.

Sixty-five people were killed, around a third of whom were children. More than 110 others were injured.

Christina Bura, a resident whose son was killed in the disaster, said she awoke to mud engulfing her home.

“Around 06:00, I was asleep when my husband woke me up, asking, “Isn’t that an earthquake?”.

“Our kids and I started to run outside, but we found ourselves surrounded by mud everywhere, and it began dragging us. We were stuck for some hours, and others were being dragged beside us”

The family is now homeless.

“In our neighborhood, there are no houses now, and there are no cows,” she said.

Church leader, Esther Martin said the mudslides destroyed her home before decimating the church building.

“I was dragged in mud, rocks, and trees for almost 2km (1.2 miles). I started to pray, saying I’m not dying, and God helped me. I managed to hang on to a tree and climbed on top.”

Katesh, a once vibrant town has been reduced to a sorry state, such is the extent of the damage.

Temporary shelters have been set up for those who lost their homes, while rescue teams continue to comb through tonnes of mud and debris in search of the people who may still be trapped.

Authorities in Tanzania said the erosion of nearby Mount Hanang is the primary cause of the mudslides.

Government spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi said loose rocks on the mountain absorbed rainwater and created pressure that led to a collapse.

“Mount Hanang comprises of volcanic sediments…the area was unable to withstand that pressure and so a portion collapsed, and mud started flowing down the Jorodom river washing away trees, and impacting settlements along the riverbank,” said Mr Matinyi.

The country’s meteorology agency has issued warnings of heavy rainfall during the remainder of December.


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