The facility will be a significant asset in predicting disasters like floods and droughts, the prime minister’s office has said FILE PHOTO. Members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) gather on a boat as residents are rescued in an area heavily affected by floods following torrential rains in the Rufiji District village of Mohoro, on April 17, 2024. © AFP

The Emergency Operation and Communication Center (EOCC) Situation Room opened on Friday in Dodoma, Tanzania under the Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Early Action System (AMHEWAS) program sponsored by the African Union.

Jim J. Yonazi, Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office for Policy, Parliament, and Coordination, said that the situation room will significantly aid Tanzania in predicting various types of disasters, including floods and droughts.

“This is very important for us to be able to plan strategies, on how we can prevent [crises], but again if it happens, how to recover, and again how to provide more information to stakeholders on how to bring life back together,” he explained.

Kamal Kishore, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said that the opening of the center “is an important milestone, the output, the synthetic outputs that will come out of this situation room will help us prepare communities on the ground to take anticipatory actions and protect lives and livelihoods.”

The event was welcomed by supporters of the EOCC Situation Room, including the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), which provided two years of technical support for its establishment. The effort was made in partnership with the International Center for Environmental Monitoring CIMA Research Foundation and funded by the Government of Italy through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

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Last week, the UNDRR Regional Office for Africa conducted a workshop to train officials on using an open-source system for real-time natural hazard monitoring and forecasting. This system will be utilized in the situation room to issue advisories, facilitating prompt early action.

Research by UNDRR indicates that countries with advanced multi-hazard early warning systems experience disaster mortality rates six times lower than those with no or weak systems. Furthermore, an early warning of just 24 hours can potentially reduce resulting damages by 30%. According to UNDRR’s 2023 report on the Global Status of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, only 45% of African countries report having such systems.

Between 2021 and 2022, the initial centers of the network were established: three situation rooms dedicated to forecasting, analyzing, monitoring, and responding to hydrometeorological risks, including a regional center, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Disaster Operation Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, and two continental centers, the Continental Situation Room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory Centre in Niamey, Niger.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe plans to launch its second satellite, ZimSat-2, in November, which will be equipped with advanced sensors and imaging devices, supporting applications such as environmental hazard monitoring, and drought management. (RT)