Dar strengthens disaster management, preparedness

TANZANIA: PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has said that the government will continue to step up measures in enhancing disaster management and preparedness, to ensure security of the country and its borders remain safeguarded.

The Prime Minister made the statement on Wednesday during the launch of disaster management guidelines including the National Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan as well as National Action Plan on the Risk Mitigation of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats.

PM Majaliwa said various efforts have been made to ensure the country responds and copes well with the immediate aftermath of disasters and emergencies.

“The government is ready to invest in all the resources needed to ensure that the country becomes strong and increases its ability to deal with safety challenges in all fields,” Premier Majaliwa said. He said that the guidelines which were prepared by the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC), will provide education on how to prepare for disasters. “Through these documents, joint national strategies have been put in place to prevent and deal with disasters,” he added.

The PM also said that the documents have focused on important policy issues, including experience in dealing with national and international disasters as well as legal requirements and international protocols.

PM Majaliwa cited examples of disasters that happened in other countries, including Ukraine’s nuclear radiation and Chernobyl in 1986, Tokyo’s natural gas attack on the ground transportation system in 1995 and US’s anthrax attack in 2001, adding that due to preparedness training, they were able to deal and contain the disasters.

“In order to be effective, a system of monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of guidelines must be done from time to time, with the aim of having a continuous readiness to deal with disasters at any time,” he said.

Moreover, he called on the media in the country to prepare a comprehensive plan of airing disaster management programmes, to educate Tanzanians about the preparedness to face the disasters.

Mr Majaliwa instructed all the ministries and institutions involved in implementing the work plan of the documents to provide all the necessary cooperation in implementing the guidelines, including establishing departments to measure radiology, chemical and nuclear threats in the transport sector including bus stands, airports, railway stations and ports.

“The Dar es Salaam Port is the main gateway for bringing a lot of cargo into the country and neighbouring countries. It is important to be alert because the cargo may be carrying different products that may involve adverse chemical, radiation or nuclear indicators that may endanger the lives, businesses and property of citizens,” he said.

He also instructed ministries, institutions and stakeholders to discuss how to establish a centre to coordinate chemical, biological and nuclear threats.

He thanked the European Union (EU) for providing the government with equipment worth 2.2 million euros (about 6.03bn/-) and financing the training of employees from various institutions from both Mainland and Zanzibar. For his part, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Professor Adolph Mkenda said that the launch of documents was in line with the completion of training on disaster management.

He said the training had the purpose of giving the participants knowledge and skills to deal with chemical, radiology and nuclear threats and to support efforts to prevent, prepare and deal with disasters in the country.

“It is known that these events can occur as accidents, terrorist acts or the intentional release of chemical sources, nuclear sources and radiology that can pose a threat to the health of citizens and harm to the nation,” Prof Mkenda said.

Speaking earlier, Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Director General, Plasduce Mbossa said that the launched guidelines will open a new page for the implementation of plans in response to emergencies of chemical, radiology and nuclear disasters.

He said the documents are important for the government since they define the country’s priorities in a broad way and measures to reduce chemical, radiology, biological and nuclear disasters.

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