Tanzania: Millions of Earthquake Relief Cash 'Lying Idle'

Photo: The Citizen

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa (fourth right) assessing damage of the earthquake with his entourage.

Dodoma — Only about Sh800 million has so far been spent out of the Sh5 billion raised to support the government’s efforts to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by last month’s earthquake in Kagera Region. Meanwhile, the official death toll has increased to 23 from the previous 17 after six people who were admitted at various hospitals succumbed to their injuries. They were among 440 people who were injured in the September 10 disaster.

“Six victims have died and thus the death toll from the earthquake has reached 23 from the previous 17. Survivors continue to receive relief support,” the chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Affair Committee, Mr Mohamed Mchengerwa, told reporters yesterday after meeting a government team to assess response to the 5.7-magnitude earthquake.

Journalists were prevented from covering proceedings of the meeting. The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama, who led the government’ delegation, presented a report to the committee detailing how the government handled the situation.

Mr Mchengerwa (Rufiji-CCM) did not say whether any reason was given at the meeting on why only Sh800 million had so far been spent to rebuild Kagera Region’s infrastructure that was either damaged or destroyed by the powerful earthquake.

He only told reporters that rebuilding infrastructure was a slow process that could take up to three years.

“But we have also advised the government to provide health services to all survivors, and that it was high time the government started to conduct studies in Rift Valley areas to forecast earthquakes with a view to minimising loss of property and life,” he said.

A public campaign should also be conducted to educate people living in areas prone to earthquakes to build houses that could withstand such natural calamities, Mr Mchengerwa said.

The committee also advised the government to ensure that disaster response units were well-equipped and well-funded to be able to offer help whenever disasters occur.

In another development, the committee called for a new law that would make it possible to gauge and monitor the performance of the Capital Development Authority (CDA). Committee members said there was serious bureaucracy within CDA in the allocation of land within the municipality.

“The government has expressed its commitment to ensuring that bureaucracy is rooted out in CDA as far as land allocation is concerned. This is particularly important especially at this time when the government is in the process of moving to Dodoma from Dar es Salaam,” Mr Mchengerwa said.

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