In a heart-wrenching incident, twenty-two individuals lost their lives in a tragic landslide at a mine in Simuyu region’s Bariadi district in northern Tanzania. The accident unfolded over 500 kilometers north of the capital, Dodoma, burying the miners under a cascade of heavy debris.
Faustine Mtitu, the acting commander for the region’s fire and rescue force, reported on Sunday that despite the closure of rescue operations, the death toll remains at 22, all of whom were men. Mtitu revealed that safety procedures at the mine had not been adhered to, emphasizing the need for stringent safety measures in such environments.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan expressed profound sadness over the accident and paid tribute to the victims. In a post on social media, she acknowledged the miners as small-scale contributors to the nation’s development, trying to make a living for themselves and their families.
The precise timing of the landslide remains unclear, and officials have yet to provide details on the cause of the devastating accident. Tanzania, being the fourth-largest African producer of gold, heavily relies on mining as a crucial source of foreign currency.
Mining accidents have unfortunately been relatively common in the region, often attributed to inadequate tools and materials, compromising the safety of the miners. Tanzania’s gold mining industry has witnessed similar incidents in the past, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced safety protocols.
The country, along with its East African neighbors, has been grappling with the consequences of heavy rainfall linked to the El Nino weather pattern. In December 2023, landslides in the hillside town of Katesh claimed the lives of seventy-six people, displacing thousands and causing extensive damage to infrastructure.
President Hassan, responding to the recent tragedy, stressed the importance of government preparedness to detect early signs and provide timely alerts to avert such catastrophic events. The landslides serve as a stark reminder of the need for comprehensive safety measures and climate-related disaster preparedness in the region.