Heavy rains kill nine people in Tanzania

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DAR ES SALAAM, April 16 (Xinhua) -- At least nine people have been killed in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam by heavy rains pounding the city of five million people for three consecutive days, police said on Monday.

Lazaro Mambosasa, the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, said the nine were killed by flash floods and falling walls.

"The victims include children, women and men and the number might rise as the rains continue pounding the city," he told a news conference after he had conducted air patrol by an helicopter.

Mambosasa said most areas of the capital have been submerged in the rains that started on Saturday.

He said authorities, including the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), had warned people living in low areas to move out of the areas but most of them did not take the warning seriously.

Paul Makonda, the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, ordered on Monday public schools to close to avoid more casualties from the rains.

"It is not convenient to send children to schools in this situation where vehicles are prone to accidents and infrastructure of some schools have been destroyed," said Makonda.

The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART), a public transport firm, suspended its operations, bringing transport to a standstill. The suspension left many city residents stranded as they failed to report for work.

According to a statement released last week by the TMA, the rains were expected to continue for some time.

The statement mentioned the hardest hit regions as Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Arusha, and Morogoro.

Others were Mwanza, Mara, Kagera, Geita, Kigoma, Katavi, Tabora, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Lindi, and Mtwara.

In April last year, a 24-hour deluge in Dar es Salaam resulted in the deaths of at least two people and displacement of hundreds as business almost came to a standstill. Enditem

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