Rain season..

This rain season seems to be never-ending, and there’s no relief in Dar es Salaam. After the catastrophe of last month, when Dar was isolated in every direction (bridges collapsed, or over-flooded), and some people died, the city is now water-logged, particularly where I’m staying, Mikocheni. It means that the ground is so soaked with water that any time it rains again, it doesn’t matter how much, water is coming up, and everywhere is mud and shit (you can smell it when the sun is coming back again and drying the roads).

 

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Storm over Dar es Salaam

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Most of the secondary roads of Dar are not paved, and this is what is left when the rain stops

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This shopping mall has been standing on water for the last month, and it was said that it could collapse

What’s the reason for this? the simple answer is: “this area used to be a swamp, and water is going back where it used to stay..” Yes, and they shouldn’t have built up the all area, so that there’s not even a chance for the water be drained and the only unsealed soil is on the small unpaved roads, which become rivers, during rainfalls.

Is there another reason? After so many meetings talking about deforestation and climate change, it could be that I’m a little bit “oriented”, but I can’t help thinking about the forest that has been cut down around Dar and elsewhere in Tanzania for the last 10 years. 400’000 ha per year. It’ 4’000 sqkm, a bit less than the surface of Molise region.

On the contrary, I spent the last week in a part of Tanzania called “southern-highlands”, where there are several forests. It’s a pity that it reminded me of Poland..and Germany.. where there used to be mountain tropical forest and elephants, now there are pines and eucalyptus…. what a change! people are fine there, timber is a good business, the area seems richer than others in Tanzania, maybe even because of general better environmental conditions: there’s a lot of water.  Which can be used, it doesn’t create problems. Anyway, I don’t like those forests. But what happened to the original ones?

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Artificial lake in Njombe, for irrigation of tea plantations, surrounded by pine stands

Don’t know. Maybe the forest was just cut down for opening meadows, or for the need of timber..next time I’ll go there I hope I can meet someone who went there on foot from Dar es salaam, maybe 50-60 years ago.

Should eucalyptus be planted in Dar as well, they are like sponges for the water.. But in Dar es Salaam, in the middle of a mess of iron sheet, brick or concrete houses, there are still giant trees left over from the pristine forest . . Very a few, but what a shame if they would be replaces by eucalyptus (which I really like, but when it feeds koala in Australia…)

And what’s going on these days in between the SH and Dar? where and why the water is becoming too much? and where an why it is becoming too little?

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