Free mobile phones to boost awareness on climate, weather

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THE government has embarked on issuance of free mobile phones to local farmers to facilitate direct channeling of information on climate, weather and related disasters to peasants for increased awareness.

The initiative has been hatched under the ‘Strengthen Climate Information and early Warning System,’ the programme that the Disaster Management Department in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is executing.

The Programme Coordinator from the PMO, Disaster Management Department, Mr John Kiriway revealed here yesterday that so far about 100 handsets have been distributed to peasants in Liwale and Arumeru districts within Lindi and Arusha Regions, respectively.

The phones are directly linked to the information system, which automatically dispenses information on climate condition, weather and disaster alertness to all handset holders to prepare them for the happenings. A total of six wards in Arumeru have been placed under the pilot programme.

They are Shambarai-Burka, Mbuguni, Maroroni, Makiba, Nkoarisambu and Majengo where over 200 people have been trained to understand the information relayed through the handsets.

“The information sent into the phones will be printed, with copies put on public notice boards for all people and villagers to read and know exactly what is happening or looming around them,” maintained Mr Kiriway during the team’s visit to Arusha.

The Hydrology and Meteorology Technician from the Water Office at the Pangani River Basin, Mr Paul Damien said the government has also started to install digital water level detectors in all major rivers across the nation.

The detectors have been planted within the shallow depths of all large rivers in the country to measure how the current flows, rises or dissipates to check possible flood occurrences, or siltation and other environmental hazards.

The Coordinator for Meru District Disaster Management, Ms Digna Massawe said the wards that have been placed under the pilot programme were found to suffer serious drought while others were prone to floods, saying it was critical to make the residents aware of impending natural events.

The PMO organised training workshop to raise awareness preceded the programme in Usa-River township of Meru, with others following soon in other places.

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