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Moshi, TZ – Mwangaria Primary School suffers from surprise flooding, starts planning next steps – 9 May 2018

Mwangaria flooding - headmaster in MwangariaSevere flooding covered the communities around Mwangaria Primary School in over 3 feet of water in some places. Today, over 2 weeks after the flooding started, most of the area is still under nearly a foot of water. Much of that water is still moving.

The floods mark the first time in memory that the Mwangaria area has flooded. Kahe Ward is a flat area at the start of the Pangani River Basin. Flooding is an annual event as heavy rains combine with run off from Mount Kilimanjaro, the Pare Mountains, and the Merelani Mountains. However, the floods typically affect the same areas each year and Mwangaria has never been one of those areas. Residents are still trying to understand the causes of this unusual flood. Theories include:

  • The Pare Mountains, which are closest to Mwangaria, received more rains than usual and this focused floods on the Mwangaria area.
  • Man-made changes to the earth including farm trenches, irrigation channels, and dams redirected water in unexpected ways.

It is still to early for a detailed assessment of the damage, as much of the area remains unreachable. What is already clear is that the damage is catastrophic. Dozens of families lost homes, food stores, and livestock and one death has been reported so far. Tupendane is waiting for floodwaters to recede to assess the state of the school breakfast farm they planted in Mwangaria.

Despite the destruction, parents and Task Force members are also discussing how they can salvage as muchas possible from their harvest and contribute to getting the school breakfast farming project back on track. One idea parents have suggested is that they could donate banana trees to the farm so that Tupendane could focus its resources planting more corn and beans in the second planting season of 2018.

For now, Tupendane staff are meeting with families to give them encouragement and provide whatever assistance they can.