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Problems of Population Growth and Climate Change Converge in Dar-es-Salaam

“There is no such thing as an entirely ‘natural’ disaster:” this is the rallying cry of the development partners behind the Tanzania Urban Resilience Programme, a multi-stakeholder initiative designed to build up Tanzania’s own resilience to the risks our changing climate brings. Natural disasters, it believes, occur just as often from failed planning as they do from the effects of climate change itself.

The main contributor to risk? Rapid urbanization. More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and 95% of global urban growth will occur in developing countries over the next 90 years. While this growth should bring with it great economic opportunity, it also dramatically increases the concentration of people and assets exposed to climate risk.

In eastern Africa, Tanzania bears is the most flood-affected country in the region. Its capital city of Dar-es-Salaam, in particular, is the largest and fastest growing east African metropolitan area, placing the city’s infrastructure and its assets, worth about $5.3 billion, at more risk from the impact of floods. Dar-es-Salaam is a flat, sprawling city and its current population stands at about five million.

Matthias Ripp

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