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Tanzania inaugurates first Emergency Operation and Communication Center

Tanzania inaugurated its first Emergency Operation and Communication Center (EOCC) Situation Room   -  
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Tanzania

Tanzania inaugurated its first Emergency Operation and Communication Center (EOCC) Situation Room, which is also the first national situation room to be set up under the African Union’s Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Early Action System (AMHEWAS) Programme.

The event took place last week on friday and marked a milestone in the country's journey towards building disaster resilience and was welcomed by supporters of the EOCC Situation Room, including the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), which over two years provided technical support for its establishment, in partnership with the CIMA Foundation and with generous funding from the Government of Italy, through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

Working under the authority of the Prime Minister’s Office, the EOCC Situation Room will work to combine real-time data on current and emerging risks with data on past disasters to issue timely forecasts and bulletins. These products, through the coordination and support of the Prime Minister's office, will aim to trigger protective actions that can save lives, protect livelihoods and safeguard economic sectors.

In a statement, Dr. Jim. J. Yonazi, Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office - Policy, Parliament and Coordination, stated, “We have launched this situation room here today, and it is going to really help Tanzania, to predict information on various kinds of disasters including flood, drought, etc. And this is very important for us to be able to plan strategies, on how we can prevent, but again if it happens, how to recover, and again how to provide more information to stakeholders on how to bring life back together.”

Also present at the inauguration were representatives of UNDRR and the CIMA Research Foundation.

Kamal Kishore, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said, “Today we launched the situation room in Dodoma Tanzania, this 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 .”

At the inauguration, UNDRR reconfirmed its commitment to supporting Tanzania fully operationalize the new EOCC Situation Room, in coordination with the UN system and other partners.

As part of this commitment, earlier this week, UNDRR’s Regional Office for Africa facilitated a workshop to train national officials on the use of an open-source system for real-time monitoring and forecasting of natural hazards. This tool will be utilized in the situation room to enable the issuing of advisories and bulletins to trigger early actions.

“Through the establishment of the situation room, all the warning entities like the TMA and the Ministry of Water plus the Prime Minister's office will be sitting in the same room. So we'll be there 24 7, and it'll be very easy to convey the information from the warning entity to the disaster management department for easily taking measure in preparedness, to the community who will be at risk.” explained Kantamla Biseke Mafuru, Manager at Central Forecasting Office, Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA).

Countries with advanced multi-hazard early warning systems have disaster mortality rates that are six times lower than countries with no or weak systems, according to research by UNDRR. Moreover, an early warning of just 24 hours has the potential to reduce ensuing damages by 30%. Despite these benefits, only 45% of countries in Africa report the existence of such systems, according to UNDRR’s 2023 report on the Global Status of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems.

To address this gap, the UN Secretary-General launched the Early Warnings for All initiative, which supports the acceleration of regional efforts such as the African Union’s flagship AMHEWAS Programme. The Tanzanian EOCC Situation Room will be integrated into the AMHEWAS network, and support strengthening cross-border cooperation to address common hazards.

The AMHEWAS network, created through the support of the Italian Cooperation, is composed of four centres at continental and regional levels: the others are based at the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa; the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) in Niamey; and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development-Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (IGAD-ICPAC) in Nairobi.