Tanzanian deluge kills 23

2011-12-23 12:07

Dar es Salaam - The Tanzanian economic capital Dar es Salaam's heaviest rainfall in more than half a century has caused at least 23 deaths and displaced 5 000 people, officials said on Thursday.

"The tragedy has left at least 23 people dead and 4 909 displaced," Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadick told AFP, warning that the death toll could rise.

"The last time Dar es Salaam recorded such heavy rains was in 1954," Tanzania Meteorology Agency director Agnes Kijazi said at a press conference of the downpour that has hit the city over the past few days.

The east African country's President Jakaya Kikwete visited several of the camps set up in the city to shelter the flood victims and urged those living in affected areas to leave their homes.

"Floods in these low lying areas have been recurring for years, the lasting solution is to vacate the flood prone areas," he said.

"It is high time that responsible authorities including city planners, mayors and councillors stopped issuing permits for developers to erect structures in such areas," Kikwete added.