At least 47 people have been killed and 85 others injured in landslides caused by torrential rains in northern Tanzania, the regional commissioner of the affected district said on Sunday.
Heavy rains have been hitting the town of Katesh, about 300 kilometers north of the capital, Dodoma, since Saturday, causing landslides that destroyed homes.
"The toll stands at 47 dead and 85 wounded," Manyara regional commissioner Queen Sendiga told local media, AFP news agency reported.
Hanang district commissioner Janeth Mayanja had earlier said 20 people had been killed and 70 injured.
He also claimed that several roads were closed due to "muddy waters." The mud from the avalanches affected multiple homes.
"Rescue operations are still ongoing and we believe we will recover more bodies, especially in the mud," Sendiga added.
Footage broadcast by state television TBC showed many houses under water and cars stuck in thick mud.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was in Dubai for the COP28 summit, offered her "condolences" and said she had "ordered the deployment" of aid to help the victims. "As rescue efforts continue, let us keep in our prayers all the victims and those on the front lines of the rescue efforts," he said.
Samia Suluhu Hassan, president of Tanzania, ordered a rescue and aid plan for the victims of the landslide that has already left 47 dead. Photo https://dailynews.co.tz/
In addition, he said on social media: "We have been blessed by heavy rains in the Katesh area, in Hanang district, in the Manyara region, which have also, unfortunately, brought the disaster of floods."
After suffering an unprecedented drought, East Africa has been suffering for weeks from torrential rains and floods related to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which has displaced more than a million people in Somalia and left more than 300 dead in the region.
Humanitarian organizations warned that the situation can only worsen as this climate phenomenon is estimated to last until at least April 2024.
East Africa regularly suffers from floods and landslides during the rainy seasons, the heaviest between March and May.