In northern Tanzania, at least 47 people lost their lives, and 85 others suffered injuries in landslides triggered by heavy flooding, according to a local official.
The town of Katesh, situated approximately 300km north of the capital Dodoma, was severely impacted by intense rainfall on Saturday, causing devastating consequences.
District commissioner Janeth Mayanja stated that as of Sunday evening, the death toll had reached 47, and 85 individuals were reported injured.
Both Mayanja and Queen Sendiga, the regional commissioner in the Manyara area of northern Tanzania, issued warnings that the casualty count could rise further.
Mayanja highlighted the blockage of numerous roads in the region due to mud, water, and displaced trees and stones.
Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was in Dubai for the COP28 climate conference, expressed condolences and announced increased government efforts for rescue operations.
She conveyed shock at the tragic event through a video message shared online by the Tanzanian Ministry of Health.
The broader East Africa region has been grappling with adverse weather conditions, with weeks of torrential rain and flooding attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon.
The downpours have displaced over a million people in Somalia and caused hundreds of casualties.
Earlier in May, Rwanda experienced devastating floods and landslides that claimed the lives of at least 130 individuals.
The Horn of Africa is identified as one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, witnessing increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events.
Since late 2020, Somalia, as well as parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, has been facing the worst drought in the region in four decades.
Scientists attribute the impact of El Nino, a natural weather pattern contributing to global temperature rise, to be exacerbated by climate change. In response, African leaders advocate for global taxes and changes to international financial institutions to support climate change mitigation.
The recent COP28 summit in Dubai saw the launch of a “loss and damage” fund, considered historic for holding major historical polluters accountable for damages caused by the climate crisis.
However, details of the fund remain unclear, and despite 118 countries pledging to boost clean energy, global efforts still fall short of the Paris Agreement’s target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Scientists anticipate that the most severe effects of the current El Nino will manifest towards the end of 2023 and into the following year.