The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Mount Hanang Landslide remains Mystery as Death Toll Rises to 70. President Samia Suluhu Visits survivors

The number of people who lost their lives when Mount Hanang discharged massive landslides onto five villages and a township in Katesh Ward has gone beyond 70.

Hundreds others have been badly injured and various residents still reported missing at the time when President Samia Suluhu Hassan jets into Hanang District to witness the aftermath of the disaster.

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Angela Kairuki has also arrived in Hanang.

The situation, according to observers looked like the incident of Pompeii, except this time occurring in East Africa, Northern Tanzania to be precise.

A mountain sending massive landslide to bury the town below it.

Earlier count revealed more than 50 people being killed by the landslides. There were nearly 80 injuries while hundred others believed to be missing.

Residents of Katesh Township in the Hanang’ District of Manyara, were jerked awake in the wee hours of Sunday Morning, December 3, 2023, with a scary phenomenon of rivers of mud, rocks and debris flowing down and sweeping houses, cars and other infrastructures away.

On the first day, the Manyara Regional Commissioner, Queen Sendiga has however confirmed the deaths of only 17 people, but the number may increase as time goes by.

The incident is being described to be the strangest catastrophe to be experienced in the area and has so far caused many deaths though the local authorities have only managed to count less than 20 so far.

Some observers are trying to explain the occurrence as some form of volcanic action, even eruption at the nearby Mount Hanang or even earthquakes, though none have been confirmed so far.

Towering at an elevation of 3,420 Meters above sea level, Hanang’ is the fourth highest mountain in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi, Mount Meru in Arusha and Mount Lolmalasin of Ngorongoro.

But despite claims from the residents of Katesh, that they felt some kind of tremor before the massive landslide enveloped the entire town, global seismic sensors indicate no form of earthquake to ever occur in the nearby precincts that early Sunday morning.

At about 5.00 am on Sunday, 3 December 2023 a massive landslide engulfed the Katesh Township, flowing from the Southern escarpments of Mount Hanang down to Jorom, Gendabi, Mogito and Gedang’onyi villages, where hundreds of lives are feared to be at risk.

The landslides also stormed into Katesh Township destroying property and infrastructure as it swept cars away.

Passenger buses and trucks plying between Arusha, Babati, Mwanza and Singida via Katesh were grounded.

Katesh township is located in Katesh Ward of Hanang District, along the paved trunk road T14 from Singida to Babati which passes through the town with an average population of 10,000 residents.

Overlooking the town stands Mount Hanang which is a dormant Stratovolcano Volcano Number 222831. The Mountain towers above Lake Balangida in the area as well as the Katesh Township.

The Global Volcanism Program is however not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Hanang.

Records indicate that the Hanang’ volcano had experienced large eruptions prior to 10,000 years ago.

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