Tsunami scare hits Tanzania

The people I am with, in the country from many international destinations including Norway, South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Angola, Kenya and fellow Malawians all look concerned. But some of the Tanzanian’s, including the waiter that is using his broken English to tell me about the Kiswahili language broadcast, all seem shaken.

“There is going to be a tsunami, that is what the television is saying. They first said at 6pm, then 8pm. I don’t know if this is true,” he assures me.

I am damn worried, but there is no-one I can tell. Over dinner I discuss that with two fellow Malawians here, and they all laugh and say it looks like this will not happen. I am left confused.

However elsewhere motorists and pedestrians in Dar es Salaam and other coastal cities, on Wednesday, engage themselves in a dash for life, as
panic ensued and they fled from their work places in anticipation of rising water levels on the ocean coast.

The rush followed an alert put out locally and internationally, exposing lack of a disaster preparedness on the part of the Tanzanian government.

Several ocean liners and some fishermen were still on the ocean, either oblivious of the alert or ignoring the threats all together. Its Thursday today and the alert, which asked people to stay off the coast, are no where. The tsunami is either ‘cancelled’ altogether to postponed for any future eventuality, by God’s design.

For all I care, my prayer, and I think that of many people along the coasts and elsewhere, is that this does not happen at all. At least not until I fly out of Tanzania on Saturday through the Julius Nyerere International Airport!


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