By Mohammed Salim, Daily News/NECJOGHA
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Kigogo is an administrative ward in the Kinondoni district of the Dar es Salaam City of Tanzania.
This area which is heavily populated floods frequently exposing residents to floods and flood related health problems.
According to the 2002 census, the ward has a total population of 37,974 people. Vulnerability of Kigogo to climate change effects is largely due to poor planning.
However, the introduction of 5 days severe weather forecast by the Tanzanian Meteorological Agency (TMA) has helped reduce the number of reported death, destruction of property and infrastructure.
The manager of central forecast at TMA, Samuel Mbuya said the severe weather forecast has been performing well compared to the daily forecast as it gives ample time to the government authorities and the public to plan ahead to mitigate the effects.
“We have been providing daily severe weather forecast for a long time but we kept receiving complaints that the time was very short for any mitigation process, and we had to put in some extra work and we came up with 5 days severe weather forecast and to be honest with you, we are very pleased the way it has been received with our stakeholders and the general public,” said Mbuya.
He added that with the help of other stakeholders they have managed to package the 5 days severe weather bulletin in a very simple format for the end user to understand.
The severe weather bulletin includes warning and advisory alerts, picture and image, info graphs and steps to be taken avoid the effects of severe weather.
Kigogo is one of the areas whose dwellers have benefitted from the severe weather forecasts. The ward executive officer of Kigogo, Osilagi Losai, said Kigogo has been using the severe weather bulletin to prepare and plan and residents of Kigogo have a lot of awareness and preparedness on how to reduce the effects of severe weather in their area.
“Kigogo residents have enough awareness on weather and climate information’s and efforts have been on going to prepare for severe weather and planning purposes,” Losai says.
How the severe weather forecast is disseminated
Different ways are being used to pass on the severe weather forecast to the people among those are media, phone SMS, WhatsApp groups, public address systems in trading centres and school clubs.
Kigogo is under a project funded by UKAid called Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER), implemented collaboratively by TMA, the center of community initiative (CCI) Resurgence (UK) Konkuey Design Initiative (KDI) in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam cities.
Recently, speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop held in Dar Es Salaam CCI Executive Director Dr. Tim Ndezi said that the project aims to address vulnerability to extreme weather and climate impacts in rapidly growing informal urban settlements.
Teachers and students are among the most affected groups whenever it floods in Kigogo as they fail to make it to school in time and sometimes are forced to be out of school for days.
Now almost every school around Kigogo has an environmental club and students are getting taught on how best they can address the vulnerability to extreme weather and climate impact.
Through these environmental clubs students now have the chance to meet and interact with TMA officials who visit the schools about the weather related issues.
Jane Brown, a teacher in Keko Mwanga primary school, said their students are playing a very big role through the clubs as students get information about severe weather and its impact on the society and when they go home they pass the message to their parents and relatives.
Apart from the environmental clubs in schools around Kigogo, communities have been organized in groups to help in address vulnerability to extreme weather and climate impacts in rapidly growing informal urban settlements.
A case in point was during the March-April-May (MAM) rainfall season MASIKA, a series of low-pressure systems that occurred at the beginning of March, 2019 led to the development of two tropical cyclones First it was Idai and later Kenneth. The tropical cyclones moved over the Mozambique Channel and been dragged moisture towards the southern parts of Africa and hence reducing activities over most parts of part and Tanzania especially the north part.
The March to May (MAM) rainfall season (Masika) is more prominent over the northeastern highlands, northern coast including the Isles of Unguja and Pemba, Lake Victoria Basin and the northern parts of Kigoma and Morogoro regions.
During this time we witnessed increase of rainfalls in the northern coast but with little effect on the people and according to the TMA that was because the shared the forecast earlier and people had plenty of time to plan ahead of the rains.
Mama Kibakuli, mother of three living in Kigogo and a vendor in Kigogo market says she heard of the bad weather information on radio and also received a text on her phone.
“I heard on the radio a warning of the heavy rains and cyclone Idai but I didn’t think it was that serious until I received the text on my phone about the heavy rains, and that’s when I decided to send my family away to my other relatives and stayed behind to look after our belongings,” Kibakuli said.
TMA and Kigogo local government has been working closely with the Disaster Risk Management Office and other government officials to plan ahead of any possible effects of the bad weather and it has been working out good for the community.
How Kigogo is planning for the OND season
Kigogo is already preparing for the October-November-December (OND) rain season.
Kigogo is looking forward for the forecast as they have already planned to clear drainage and sewage system to allow flooding water to run smoothly and hence reduce the impact of the severe weather.
“We have been having meetings looking into the next season, and we are going to request for an excavator to clear our drainage systems,’’ said Kigogo sub ward Chairman, Hassan Nguogani.