Tanzania: Do Something About Disasters, Government Urged

Dar es Salaam — As the nation reels from the fuel tanker blast that has killed 76 people, more and more voices are being raised on the need for authorities to do some soul-searching.

There seems to be general consensus that something must be done about disaster management -- with experts pushing for the establishment of a national institution for that purpose.

Dr Vera Ngowi of the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas), faulted the authorities on lack of disaster preparedness on the Morogoro accident.

"It took too long for responsible people like the Police and fire fighters to react to the accident. There was no quick response and action," she said.

However, she lauded the government for forming a task force to investigate the disaster, saying it will come up "with real reasons why it happened and propose appropriate solutions".

Findings of the team are expected on Friday.

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From Arusha, Ms Jacquiline Mkindi, chief executive officer of the Taha Group, says the Police Force needs to improve response to accidents.

"As soon as the accident occurs, police are supposed to be there and take control of the situation," she said yesterday.

She also said recurring fatal accidents in the country called for the need to reinforce control measures, especially by the police.

"The way they are fast in controlling speed and penalising traffic law offenders, should be the same effort employed when such incidences happen," she told The Citizen from Arusha.

Her concerns were echoed by Audax Rukonge, CEO for Agricultural Non-State Actors' Forum (ANSAF) who said the fuel tankers and other trucks should be fitted with speed governors.

"Experience has shown some trucks loaded with fuel and other 'dangerous' goods' cruising with the speed exceeding 140 km per hour," he said.

He challenged the government to ensure long haulage of the highly inflammable petrol should rely on railway transportation instead of the trucks.

The East African Community (EAC) said in a statement yesterday that the Morogoro disaster was a wake up call for the region as it turns into major oil producer.

"With East Africa emerging as the next frontiner in oil and gas discoveries, the EAC will endeavour to ensure that tanker fires become a subject of debate," the regional organisation said.

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