Death toll in Tanzania flash floods, landslides reaches 47

People wade through flood water after a heavy downpour in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. [Xinhua]

The death toll from flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains in northern Tanzania climbed to 47 on Sunday evening, local officials said.

"The death toll has now reached 47, up from 23 earlier announced," Manyara regional commissioner Queen Sendiga told Xinhua over the phone. "The number of injured persons is 85."

Rescue operations were continuing, Sendiga said, adding that a special rescue squad from the Tanzania People's Defense Forces joined other security organs in the search and rescue efforts on Sunday evening. "The rescue operations will continue throughout the night," she said.

Earlier on Sunday, Sendiga said rescue efforts were underway to assist individuals trapped in the landslides on Hanang hills in the Hanang district of the Manyara region, as well as to retrieve bodies trapped in the debris. She identified Katesh town and the villages of Jorodom, Gendabi, Mogito and Gedan'gonyi as the most affected areas.

Describing the situation as "horrifying," Sendiga said that one village had been completely engulfed by mudflow, suggesting a potential rise in the number of casualties.

Gabriel Mbogoni, a senior official from the Geological Survey of Tanzania, said that a team from the institution was en route to the area for investigations.

Sendiga has urged the Prime Minister's Office, security agencies and the Ministry of Health to promptly deploy personnel and resources to the Manyara region to bolster relief efforts.

Hanang district in the Manyara region is predominantly inhabited by traditional livestock keepers. The region has a population of about 1.9 million, according to the 2022 population census.

The Tanzania Meteorological Authority in August issued an advisory for the September-December rainfall season, warning that the season was more likely to be influenced by El Nino conditions. It also warned that the rains could have devastating consequences, including flooding and disruption of businesses and transport.