High-Tech equipment sought to detect natural forces


THE government has arranged to acquire sophisticated equipment that will be used to undertake deep geologic surveys to detect the magnitude of natural forces like earthquake.

Going by scientific term as Magnetotelluric, the machines, to be ordered from Germany, France, China or Japan, will make it possible for the country to measure and take immediate measurements of the quakes and take informed decisions.

Energy and Minerals Minister, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, said at Kigazi in Kagera Region yesterday that to start with, the country will undertake thorough study of the recent earthquake, which caused massive losses, including people’s lives and properties.

“The country has now decided to equip itself with intensive study on the quakes, starting with the current and the future occurrences, which will include thorough geological surveys,” he said.

The minister revealed that plans are afoot for the first study to be carried in the area where the quake started in Kigazi Village, Minziro Ward, Misenyi District, hinting that the survey will be extended as far as Dodoma Region, which had also experienced tremors in the past.

Accompanied with experts from his ministry and those from the Geology Department of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Prof Muhongo said the intensive survey at the Kigazi epicenter will go as deep as 10km underground to detect the status of the rocks following the previous tremor.

He ordered the stoppage of any kind of serious construction along the quake route, asking all the affected persons to remain calm as the state works on the matter more scientifically.

An expert from UDSM, Dr Richard Wambura, told the villagers, who were anxious to know the fate of their damaged houses, to be on alert as more aftershocks are likely to occur - although with little effects. However, he warned families to keep distance off the damaged houses as the aftershocks might increase their vulnerability and cause more panic.

Another expert, Mr Gabriel Mbogoni, a Senior Geologist from the Geology Survey of Tanzania (GST), said the houses currently undergoing minor rehabilitation should be thoroughly checked and opinion issued on whether they were fit for habitation or not.

Prof Muhongo directed the experts to visit Minziro on Saturday and provide education and awareness campaign on the quakes and possible measures to be taken in case they happen again.

The directive came after one of the villagers, Mr John Kilimbwa, asked for education on the quakes, their causes, effects and how its consequences can be avoided.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,323 students from Ihungo and Nyakato secondary schools, which were heavily damaged following the 5.7 on Richter scale magnitude earthquake that hit Bukoba Municipality on September 10, have been temporarily shifted to seven schools to enable them to continue with their studies.

The Minister of State, President’s Office, Responsible for Local Government (TAMISEMI), Mr George Simbachawene, told reporters at a press conference in Bukoba Municipality yesterday that the move would allow major rehabilitation to be conducted on the two secondary schools which are situated a few kilometres from the municipality.

He noted that Ihungo Secondary school with a total of 748 students, 372 in Form Six and 376 in Form Five, was badly damaged and 4.5bn/- was urgently needed to rehabilitate the infrastructure and buildings. Nyakato Secondary School has 567 students - 227 in Form Six and 340 in Form Five.

Mr Simbachawene named the seven schools as Kahororo, Omumwani (Bukoba Municipality), Biharamulo Secondary School, Nyakahura (Biharamulo), Kishoju and Nyailigamba (MUleba) and Bukoba Teachers’ College under the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT).

“All the affected students should report at their respective schools on October 1 instead of September 26 as earlier announced.

This will enable minor rehabilitation of the infrastructure at the schools,” he said.

Mr Simbachawene also announced that 353 schools, including 110 secondary schools and 243 primary schools in the region, were badly damaged by the tremor.

In another development, the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Mr Nape Nnauye, yesterday led a team of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) officials at a fundraising event to support victims of the recent earthquake that hit Kagera Region.

Various companies and individuals handed over their contributions to Mr Nnauye, who was accompanied by TBC Director General, Dr Ayoub Rioba.

The event was beamed live by TBC from the Mwalimu Nyerere Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam. Among them was the Chairman of Skol Building Contractors Limited, Mr Vicent Massawe, who contributed 10m/-, Star Times Tanzania 1m/-, Abraham Mwapango from WIA group - 10m/- and ACT Company 5m/-.

In different telephone calls, various individuals pledged to send their contributions.contribution to the minister, Mr Massawe encouraged more individuals and private organisations to come out in big numbers to give their contributions to help the quake victims.

Mr Massawe said his company was touched by the tragic event that caused the deaths of 17 people while injuring more than 50 others.

Earlier, Mr Nauye commended TBC for its initiative, saying it was good to convince all well-wishers to contribute for Tanzanians who were in the tormenting moment so that they could reduce pain that they are currently enduring.

“I congratulate you for this creativity of creating awareness to all Tanzanians to contribute for our relatives in Kagera region,’’ said the minister. Dr Rioba said as the national broadcaster, his institution has decided to give an opportunity to listeners and those watching television and the entire community to contribute for the earthquake victims.

Meanwhile, Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) has deployed a team of technicians to restore the damaged telecom services in Kagera Region which was hit by earthquake early this month.

TTCL Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kamugisha Kazaura, said in Bukoba yesterday after visiting Kagera Regional Commissioner, Major General (Retired) Salum Kijuu, the telecom firm has set targets to make reliable and quality communication services in the region.

Similarly, he said, the initiative will enable other service providers served by TTCL through the national broadband to increase efficiency in serving their customers. Apart from the improvement of the telecom services, TTCL has also donated 30 tons of cement to support government’s efforts in rehabilitating various infrastructures in Kagera Region.

On its part, the Tanzania Breweries Limited Group has partnered with African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) to facilitate construction of a deep well in Kagera Region.

The project, worth over 67m/-, will enable hundreds of villagers at Busole village in Muleba District to benefit from safe and portable water. TBL Group External Affairs Director, Georgia Mutagahywa, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the financial support is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).

AMREF Tanzania Country Director, Dr Florence Temu, welcomed the TBL support which the company has dedicated to people of Muleba and Busole village in particular. Meanwhile, PanAfrican Energy Tanzania has donated 1,900 iron sheets and 5,000 bags of cement to people affected by the earthquake.

Speaking during the handover, the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Mr Andrew Kashangaki, said that being the first visit since the earthquake, it was an eye opener to the real situation on the ground, promising that they shall be returning to be part of rebuilding process, especially in schools that have been damaged by the tremor.

The Chairman of the TBL Board of Directors, Mr Patrick Rutabanzibwa, thanked the Kagera regional administration for their quick response to this disaster.



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