11 June 2017

Tanzania: Kilimanjaro Mountain Climbers Raise Concern On Safety Measures

Moshi — Activists who routinely organize Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions for different humanitarian groups have pleaded for improved safety and rescue measures.

They said the rescue gear used by the Kilimanjaro National Park (Kinapa) left a lot to be desired and should be upgraded to assure the climbers of their safety when scaling or descending Africa's highest mountain.

Their pleas at the weekend followed yet another death of a mountain climber one Evati Matovolwa last week during an expedition organized to raise funds for people living with HIV/Aids.

This year's mountain climbing exercise, dubbed Kili Challenge 2017 and which was organized by Geita Gold Mine (GGM) ended tragically following the demise of Matovolwa near the Mweka gate.

Several deaths of mountain climbers from abroad have been reported in the past, putting on spotlight the rescue gear used by Kinapa to save the trapped trekkers. There are complaints some were outdated and ineffective.

The director of the Tanzania Commission of Aids (Tacaids) Dr. Leonard Maboko said the groups organizing mountain climbing on 'Africa's Rooftop' have been greatly saddened by the death.

On his part, GGM managing director Richard Jordinson pleaded that the death should not discourage them from organizing other mountain climbing expeditions in the future.

He said since the Mt. Kilimanjaro treks began in 2001 under the sponsorship of the giant mining company, a lot of money had been donated to support people living with Aids and those infected with HIV.

However, this was disputed by Dr. Maboko who said the donations made in recent years could not cover the rising costs of organizing the exercise and raise money for the targeted people.

No statistics were released.

However, the Tacaids director said the government has established a facility called Age Fund where all monies intended to assist the HIV/Aids victims is channeled by the corporate bodies and individuals.

This, according to him, could reduce dependence on foreign donors.

Newly-appointed Kilimanjaro regional commissioner Ms Anna Mgwira said the government would continue to encourage private companies such as GGM to organize mountain climbing exercises as part of public sensitization against HIV/Aids and raise the needed funds.


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