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Dar es Salaam at rainy time

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Dar es Salaam at rainy time

    2008-11-16 11:50:07
    By Robert Ochieng

    Happy days are not here and the sky above is not clear. It is Wednesday morning, and the time is 7:23 a.m. Of particular concern today in Dar es Salaam is the onset of rains.

    Courtesy of gauzed windows and open doors, there are sporadic blinding flashes of lightning several kilometers long to our east, letting out a couple of enduringly deafening booms.

    In effect, terrified women and children dash for cover.

    Having started just after midnight, from light to moderate and torrential in some places, the unrelenting rain has gone on pounding for the past six hours, and is not showing signs of stopping any time soon, flooding sections of the city�s Kinondoni, Ilala and Temeke districts in its wake.

    Hordes of hard working people have already ventured out; on roads and streets, in market places and offices.

    You`ll find them here, there, everywhere. Undeterred, they carry on with their responsibilities despite the non-stop showers that would leave them sodden.

    Their palms and soles whitish pale after hours in wetness.

    Hilda Mariam (33), steps outside her house located at Mtoni-Kijichi in Temeke District. She is immediately greeted by the ghastly raging ``river`` passing by that threatens to sweep her or anyone who dared to cross its path, hell-bent on wreaking havoc.

    ``This is the time we all dread. Besides our homes becoming flooded, so much dirt and filth get into people�s neighbourhoods,`` she observed.

    Like Mariam, many people here have to content with such deplorable conditions as a result of out-of-the-blue ``rivers`` and pools of dirty water brought about by the sudden rains.

    ``Thanks to the city council�s inaction to build drainage systems, `` they would resignedly lament.

    There is a sheer sense of helplessness everywhere as children go to school, workers report to their duty stations, business people head to their premises and locations.

    Some are compelled to wade through pads of water in a bid to get to their destinations spread out in various parts of Dar es Salaam.

    Duty-bound, many more have remained behind to take care of household chores from keeping the babies clean and well-fed to the houses neat and tidy.

    Yet others have taken out hoes and shovels to dig trenches if only to drain the unsightly mud-births.

    Hussein Rajabu, a resident at Mbagala in Temeke, is unable to conceal the frustration and disgust showing on his face. Reason?

    A pool of dirty-black water, enough to drawn a few-months-old child, has calmly settled at his doorstep.

    He is muttering to himself as he shovels away wet earth to create a trench.

    There are countless of other similar pools in and around people`s residences, from shanty structures at Tabata Dempo, Temeke area to up-market palatial homes in Mbezi beach. Roads have been rendered completely impassable in some parts.

    Hardest hit areas are found at Jangwani valley in Ilala District and a similar one in Kinondoni.

    They are classical examples of unplanned human settlements, which are attributed to rapidly increasing urbanization.

    It is here where hundreds of people usually become victims of floods every time rain descends.

    Residents in these, and other similar areas, estimated at tens of thousands, are sometimes stranded in the midst of the heavy floods caused by rivers whose banks have burst.

    Many others get trapped at various places, and property worth millions of shillings is destroyed.
    Their characteristically low lying nature makes them vulnerable to heavy torrents.

    Hurriedly assembled structures largely made of wood, mud and old iron sheets just make the already bad situation worse.

    ``Government`s economic policies that promised to lift all Tanzanians, but have left so many millions far behind are wholly responsible for all these,`` declares Irene Tillya, a Dar es Salaam resident.

    People are deeply anguished about their future and the government's failure to ease the economic burden, which they attribute to greed and deregulation.

    They bemoan the escalating prices of essential commodities such as building materials. This, they say, prohibits them from constructing decent houses.

    Many voters have been nothing but disengaged and voiceless as their pleas for assistance or intervention have always fallen on deaf hears.

    Everyday we only hear of accusations and counter-accusations of corruption scandals, which eventually come up after years of denial and inaction by the ruling party, they charge.

    SOURCE: Sunday Observer