Over 25,000 people to evacuate from impending dam burst in Tanzania

Map of Tanzania. Selective Focus.

People in more than 25 villages around Tanzania’s Nyumba ya Mungu dam in the Northern district of Mwanga have been directed by the authorities to evacuate to safer areas because the dam is on the brink of bursting after overflowing from ongoing heavy rains.

FILE PHOTO: Past flooding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Deaths were reported in Lindi, Mwanza, Morogoro and Manyara regions./Photo by AFP

The Mwanga district defense and security committee in Kilimanjaro region said failure to evacuate from areas close to the dam will force the authorities to dispatch police to remove the villagers.

At its peak, an estimated 3,500 fishermen are reported to be active on the reservoir amongst a population of 25,000 who have settled in 26 fishing villages around its perimeter.

Philip Patrick, a hydrologist from the Pangani Basin Water Office, said authorities in Kilimanjaro, Simanjaro and Manyara regions sharing the dam have been notified about the dam’s impending burst.

Patrick said Nyumba ya Mungu dam, a made-made dam constructed in the 1960s for irrigation, hydro-electric power and local fishing industry, started to overflow on January 8.

Thomas Apson, Mwanga district commissioner, said authorities in the district have asked the Pangani Basin Water Office to help control the flow of water from the dam.

At the same time, Apson said authorities continued to educate people living close to the dam on catastrophic consequences caused by a dam collapse.