Cablegate: Disaster Declaration for Tanzania Floods

O 111307Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Much of Central and parts of Southwestern Tanzania are
currently experiencing devastating floods following ongoing above
normal heavy rains that have in some areas poured almost
continuously since 24 December 2009. The Government of Tanzania
(GoT) requested U.S. Government material and financial assistance to
help provide urgently needed aid to hundreds of families of
Tanzanians who have been affected as a result of the flooding.
Following a review of available information, I have determined that
all preconditions to declaring a disaster in Tanzania exists, i.e.:
(a) given the limited resources at its disposition, the GoT needs
assistance in responding adequately to the current crisis; (b) the
GoT is actively seeking USG assistance; and (c) assisting the GoT to
respond to this disaster is definitely in the interest of the U.S.
Government and its efforts to foster and strengthen bilateral ties
and reduce human suffering. I therefore request that USAID/DCHA,
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) authorize
obligation of USD 50,000 to be used to fund a grant to the Tanzania
Red Cross Society (TRCS) to provide immediate disaster relief
assistance to those affected by the floods. End Summary.

2. The Disaster: Much of Central and parts of Southwestern Tanzania
are currently experiencing devastating floods following ongoing
above normal heavy rains that have in some areas poured almost
continuously since 24 December 2009. There is immense destruction of
infrastructure including roads and connecting bridges. Sections of
the central railway line are impassable, hampering the country's
transportation system. A significant number of wells which serve as
major sources of water for family use have been flooded causing
thousands of families to go without clean and safe water.
Destruction of crops and pasture land was also noted in all the
affected communities. Hundreds of displaced families have been put
up in makeshift structures hardly sufficient to shield them from the
weather's harsh elements especially the biting cold. Public
buildings, mainly schools, have been converted to serve as
evacuation centers for homeless families.

3. To date, the areas hardest hit by the floods are located in the
Central and Southwest parts of the country, specifically in Kilosa
district, Morogoro region, about 300 kilometers west of Dar es
Salaam and Dodoma region, Central Tanzania, about 600 kilometers
west of Dar es Salaaam. As a consequence of heavy rains along the
highlands of Mpwapwa and Kongwa districts in Dodoma region, river
Mkondoa, which meanders into Kilosa district, overflowed resulting
in unprecedented flash floods within the district headquarters and
in the nearby villages.

4. A rapid assessment conducted by TRCS local branches in the
affected locations, in collaboration with the respective local
disaster management committees, identified the following notable
impacts of the floods:

a. Kilosa/Morogoro Region: Communities in Kilosa urban and 26
villages in 8 administrative wards have been affected:
i. Total population affected: more than 25,000
ii. Total Families whose houses are submerged in water: 5,605
iii. Total number of houses submerged in water: 4,699
iv. Total camps established by local government to accommodate the
homeless families (mostly in schools): 23
v. Total families in camps: 1,778
vi. Total population in camps: 9,836
b. Kongwa and Mpwapwa Districts/Dodoma Region:
i. Over 200 families are homeless
ii. 8 deaths reported
iii. Over 300 houses partially or completely damaged
iv. One Secondary school submerged
v. Several water wells flooded
vi. Roads and a bridge extensively damaged

5. Initial Responses: Volunteers from the respective TRCS local
branches were immediately deployed to assist in the search and
rescue actions. TRCS volunteers also provided assistance and support
in the re-location of victims. TRCS immediately delivered critical
non-food items to victims, including blankets, mosquito nets, family
tents, and first aid kits. TRCS, with support from their Regional
Disaster Response Team, is currently carrying out a detailed
assessment of the flood situation.

6. UNICEF has provided TRCS with Tanzanian Shillings 5,650,000 (five
million six hundred fifty thousand) to cover the costs of the
initial transportation and delivery of relief supplies. Along with
the cash amount, UNICEF also authorized the release of the following
relief items to TRCS: 144,000 water purification tablets, 1,500
plastic buckets, 5,000 bars of soap and 500 jerry cans.

7. In addition to TRCS, the GoT is coordinating the search and
rescue actions, organizing the relocation of victims, has
established temporary shelter in public buildings/schools, and

9. Another definite identified need will be housing supplies such as
aluminum roofing sheets, cement, and bricks to help rebuild the
nearly 6,000 destroyed or damaged homes.

10. Proposed Use of OFDA Immediate Disaster Relief Funding: OFDA
disaster relief funding will allow TRCS to provide immediate
emergency assistance to those civilian families affected by the
floods. TRCS assistance will consist of non-food items, e.g.,
tents, blankets, mattresses and water purification

11. Conclusion: As Ambassador, I hereby declare that a disaster
exists in Central and Southwestern Tanzania. The disaster requires
immediate attention and its magnitude exceeds the capacity of the
GoT to respond. The GoT has welcomed USG assistance and it is in
the interests of the USG to provide such assistance. USAID/OFDA is
therefore requested to provide a fund cite so that $50,000 in IDA
funds can quickly be granted to TRCS to assist in this emergency.


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