TANZANIA: PRES MAGUFULI WARNS AGAINST ABUSE OF AID FOR KAGERA QUAKE VICTIMS

Pres Dr John Magufuli has warned officials from misusing relief aid for Kagera earthquake victims and assured that the government will reconstruct all damaged infrastructure including schools, health centres and other social services.

Magufuli sounded the warning in Dar es Salaam after receiving a report on the earthquake from the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa. The head of state received a total of 200,000 USD (437m/-) from the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.

Magufuli also received a report on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's contribution. The Kenyan head of state provided roofing sheets, blankets and mattresses worth 115m/-.

Magufuli directed state organs to make close monitoring of people with the intention of abusing the contributions for personal benefit. The tremor, which measured at a magnitude of 5.7 on the Richter scale, occurred on Sept 10 in Kagera and other neighbouring regions of Mwanza, Geita and Mara.

Magufuli commended all people who contributed relief aid including cash donations to assist the victims.

He noted that the contributions were of great support in addressing the earthquake impacts. He called upon Tanzanians to continue assisting the victims through the Prime Minister's Office and the Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC).

He called upon the quake victims whose houses have been damaged to plan for reconstruction because the government cannot afford to build all the houses.

In his report, the premier told the president that the earthquake killed 17 people and injured 440 others. He added that 2,063 houses were demolished and a further 14,081 are in bad shape. A total of 9,471 houses developed cracks. He added that a total of 126,315 people are in need of help.

According to the premier, so far the government has responded by providing relief food, health services and shelter to victims in the region. He added that the government is continuing with efforts to raise funds from various sources.

Until Saturday, the government had managed to collect a total of 3.6bn/- for the Kagera earthquake victims.

Meanwhile, experts in diplomacy have described a move by three heads of state of the East African Community (EAC) to give relief aid to victims of Kagera earthquake as signal towards more cooperation and brilliant future in the bloc.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Paul Kagame of Rwanda handed over their contributions to President John Magufuli on Saturday. Museveni contributed a total of 200,000 US dollars (437m/-) and Kenyatta provided a relief items including roofing sheets, blankets and mattresses worth 115m/-.

A Lecturer at the Centre for Foreign Relations (CFR), Dr Kitojo Wetengere, noted that being in the community means that the members need to support each other economically and socially. "When one member country faces trouble, others should provide help.

For these presidents to support Tanzania, it means that we are together during good and hard times. They have proved that our pain is theirs," Dr Wetengere remarked. He said it was healthy for the EAC because by doing so; the three presidents have underscored more collaboration and unity among member states.

Another expert in diplomacy at the CFR, Dr Bernard Achiula, remarked that what the three EA heads of state have done was crucial for the brighter future of the EAC.

He further said that Tanzania has been in the frontline in helping other countries during times of trouble and, therefore, such a gesture has proved to other countries in the Community that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

"I think helping each other in the Community before asking for support from western countries shows how the EAC is now matured," he noted.

A Member of the EALA, Makongoro Nyerere, proposed that the EAC should in future need to have a law that would guide them in collaboratively respond to disasters. He said the law would improve the current low capacity among the EA countries in responding and managing the disasters, which have caused deaths, injuries and loss of properties in the region.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK