Free land for Dar es Salaam flood victims

Government plans to move 2,500 families from Dar flood zones

The Tanzanian government is offering free plots of land to residents living in the poor Kinondoni district which has suffered extensive damage from flooding in recent months.

The torrential rainfall has caused widespread flooding, leaving dozens dead and thousands homeless, particularly in low-lying areas such as Kinondoni.

The government's relocation plan represents a change in policy and comes after years of residents refusing to leave their homes in flood-hit zones, claiming they lack sufficient money to move. Now Tanzania's president Jakaya Kikwete is promising "land in safer areas" to residents who relocate from informal settlements which lack adequate drainage systems and are prone to flooding.

The government says that so far hundreds of residents have accepted its offer and that the first families are expected to move to previously unused state-owned plots in August.

The city has identified more than 2,500 families required to move to homes on higher ground, including those whose houses obstruct water flowing out to the Indian Ocean.

Once people have moved from the flooding prone districts, any remaining structures will be demolished and the areas will be declared disaster zones, granting the government powers to evict anybody who builds on the land in the future.