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Disaster Management of Tanzania

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Geography
Wordcount: 3287 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Disaster Management


Disaster encompasses the disruption of the typical patterns of life, which can be severe, unexpected, widespread, and sudden. Disaster can affect humans through causing injuries, loss of lives, adverse effects on health, and hardship. Similarly, disaster can also affect social structures, for instance, damage to buildings, government systems, essential services, and communication. Also, as a result of the disaster, the community can lack critical needs such as food, shelter, medical assistance, social care, and clothing. Any event whether progressive or sudden, human-made or natural, which have impacts of similar severity that the affected state, whether developed, developing, underdeveloped needs to respond through taking exceptional measures to curb such situations.

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Disaster management involves ways that aim at reducing the potential losses, which are caused by hazards by assuring appropriate and prompt assistance to the victim’s people, communities, and countries at large hence, achieving effective and rapid recoveries. Civil society, government, and organizations can plan and reduce the impacts caused by a disaster that can be applied during and after the occurrence of the tragedy. Actions can include better warnings, greater preparedness, prevention of disaster, and reduced vulnerability during the next iteration of the cycle.

Natural disaster and hazards happen regularly but at unpredictable intervals, thus affecting individuals around the globe. Such risks can be caused by geology (landslides, earthquake, tidal waves, and volcano), climate changes (flood, cyclone, and drought), environmental factors (desertification, pollution, pest infestation, and deforestation) or the combination of these causes. The Africa continent has not to be left behind by these natural disasters (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017). The eruption of the Buena Mountain in Cameroon is an example, which affected many lives, agricultural farms, and properties. All of these circumstances can be examined to look at disasters, and the way Tanzania manages these disasters.

Rationale and history behind the Tanzanian organizational approach to disaster management

Tanzania has witnessed numerous man-induced and natural disasters, which have culminated into displacements, loss of properties, and life. These issues have been prevalent due to famine caused by drought, displacements because of civil strife, an epidemic of illnesses, environmental degradation, wildlife and livestock epidermis, technological accidents, earthquakes, and crop pest infections. Nonetheless, due to inadequate resources, technical and administrative measures vital for disaster management and preparedness in the state are hindered by faulty equipment’s and are scarce. Tanzania lacks adequate repository and significant depository data in the incidences of disaster as well as their effects on the Tanzanian communities.  The enforcement legislatures regarding risk avoidance are weak in that any disruption rising from disasters have continued to increase without having corresponding lessons-learned (Gupta, Starr, Farahani, & Matinrad, 2016).

However, Since 1872 to date, Tanzania has been experiencing both human-made and natural disasters. This led to the establishment of Disaster Management Department (DMD), which is mandated in performing numerous activities, including disaster relief coordination under the act NO. 9 of 1990, which is a National Disaster Management Policy of the year 2004 and national operational guidelines of the year 2003 (Gupta, Starr, Farahani, & Matinrad, 2016). Similarly, in 2015, Tanzania implemented a disaster management act, which sets all the legal frameworks surrounding disaster risk management. This provided the establishment of Tanzania Disaster Management Agency (TDMA), which is a focal point for the state coordination management and reduction of disaster risks in Tanzania (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017). The agency plays a critical role in coordinating, planning as well as monitoring organizations for the prevention, preparedness, mitigation, responses, and post-disaster recoveries grounded on all potential disaster risks. 

The implementation of disaster management patterns in Tanzania

The implementation patterns that are used in Tanzania during disaster management involve bottom-up pattern. The country implemented “emergency preparedness and response framework,” which clarifies the inter-linkages between the contingency plans, baselines, monitoring, and early warnings, assessment, and responses. This is used when analyzing the available data systems and processes in the state for preparing in the case of emergencies and assessing needs (Gupta, Starr, Farahani, & Matinrad, 2016).

Basing in the case of food and nutrition in Tanzania, the process starts with knowledge base data where information is acquired from Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) together with WFP. These provide entire baseline data that is disaggregated at the regional level. NGOs and government institutions further provide early warnings systems data that can be used. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives (MAFC) produce food production forecast to determine if there are shortages that can lead to disasters. Further, MAFC, in collaboration with the Tanzania Metrological Agency (TMA) collects rainfall data (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017).

Local government authorities and regional administration have parallel systems, which are prepared monthly for agriculture and livestock data. Usually, ward/village livestock and agriculture extension workers provide this data each month when collecting their monthly salaries. The data is compiled in district levels by DALDO, who later submits to the local government authorities (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017). This information is significant since it provides early warnings for probable disasters. However, there are no contingency plans developed in Tanzania for dealing with fast and slow onset disasters. The local government authorities conduct responses for emergencies and recovery plans by utilizing the available resources to reduce catastrophes that are associated with disasters such as loss of lives. The authorities coordinates are the measures to be used in evacuating people from such glitches (Gupta, Starr, Farahani, & Matinrad, 2016).

Disaster hazards

Over the years, Tanzania has been experiencing disasters, including:

Environmental degradation, which is caused by deforestation

Deforestation is one of the major problems that is facing the forest ecosystems in Tanzania. A large population of the country depends mainly on fuel as the source of energy. Moreover, as the population in Tanzania is increasing, the demand for fuel energy has been rising, a factor that has accelerated the rate of deforestation (Wilkinson et al., 2018). This has also contributed to the occurrence of natural disasters and hazards. Also, the environment of Tanzania has been degraded.

Environmental degradation that is caused by desertification

Desertification encompasses the gradual spreading of deserts in other parts of region or states. Desertification has been a major environmental degradation challenge facing Tanzania. The leading causes of desertification are deforestation caused by agricultural activities, fuelwood harvesting, lumbering, mining, road constructions, and urban expansion. Spreading of deserts results to dunes, air pollution, dying up of rivers and streams, spreading of spiral winds, and dry of environment. All these features bring deterioration in the environment of Tanzania (Hambati & Gaston, 2015).

Floods, cyclones, and droughts

The primary disasters, which are affecting Tanzania, are floods and drought. All are areas affected by the disaster; droughts are ranked top three weighted by GDP and mortality. For instance, Tanzania has faced 12 droughts with no deaths recorded. However, the total number of individuals affected by the droughts were 12,863,483, information from the center for droughts and risk, which is research from Colombia University, 2005 (Wilkinson et al., 2018). In Tanzania, more deaths have been recorded as a result of floods than any other disaster causing agent. For instance, the 24 flood-disasters experienced in Tanzania led to the deaths of 531 people and 843,046 affected. Moreover, properties of worth millions of dollars were destroyed. Similarly, 4 people were killed by the cyclonic disaster, and 2500 individuals affected (Hambati & Gaston, 2015).


This is the main geological hazard which affects Tanzania frequently causing loss of lives and properties. According to Wilkinson et al. (2018), the 8 earthquakes which happened in Tanzania led to the loss of 7 deaths and 4000 people affected. Hence, earthquake is the third top disaster-causing factor in Tanzania and require attention (Wilkinson et al., 2018).

Disaster planning in Tanzania

Floods, tropical storms and drought

Heavy rainfall which took place in 2018 in Tanzania resulted in floods affecting Dar es Salaam. However, after the floods, TRCS organized a National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) to evacuate people affected by floods and administer first aid to individuals in need as well as conducting a rapid assessment for the situation. The team also assist in times of tropical storms and droughts assisted by Red Cross to deliver food to areas affected (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017).

Natural and human-made disasters

The parliament of Tanzania has implemented laws to assist the authority to cope with the emergencies where else shielding the vulnerable population form hazard risk. The introduction of the new legislation bridges the gap in the ability of the country to deal which both human-made and natural disasters through the creation of new agencies. The Disaster Management Agency (DMA) foresees the efforts of preventing and dealing with the impacts of storms, droughts, hail, hunger, and floods as well as the management of stocking supplies to assist in effective responses (Gupta, Starr, Farahani, & Matinrad, 2016).

Participants in disaster management in Tanzania

National government

They are the leading participant in disaster management and response activities in Tanzania’s government. Most of the major departments in the government have a practical and tangible connection with disaster responses and control. They are defined through responsibilities and roles in the entire processes of mitigation, prevention, recovery, preparedness, and response. These responsibilities and roles are laid down in the appropriate counter-disaster plans (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017).

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Non-profit making firms also engage in activities concerning developmental and societal issues in Tanzania. During human-made and natural catastrophes, they offer quick responses while trying to save many lives through the provision of support such as funds (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017). In most cases, they have a quick response since there is little clearance required before engaging in evacuating activities. Their main role involves the provision of relief food, the arrangement of temporary shelters, rescuing operations, and organizing health camps (Hambati & Gaston, 2015).

Military and international organizations

In Tanzania, the military is involved during disaster responses and evacuation. They engage in relief and terrorist activities to ensure that people remain safe and reduce the number of casualties for any catastrophe. The Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF) assist the government during disaster responses more so when complex emergencies occur (Kalkman & de Waard, 2017). Similarly, international organizations aid the Tanzania government through funds as well as relief food to tackle catastrophes such as drought and floods.

Challenges to effective disaster management

Lack of policies concerning disaster management

Tanzania lacks appropriate disaster management policies, which should be followed during hazards. This leads to improper management leading to the death of citizens and the loss of a large number of resources. This results in inadequate information, which becomes a challenge during disaster management (Nowell, Bodkin, & Bayoumi, 2017).

The endowment of tools, infrastructure, and equipment

To effectively meet the emergencies demands, resources including facilities, material, personnel, and equipment are crucial to curb such situations. However, Tanzania has inadequate resources, which assist in the management processes. To ensure adequate future responses to crises and planning for mitigation, stronger infrastructural and technical capabilities are required by the Tanzanian government for risk reduction (Nowell, Bodkin, & Bayoumi, 2017). Infrastructure is also a major challenge facing Tanzania being a developing country. Most of the areas are inaccessible during times of responses due to inadequate means of transport networks hence increasing the number of lives lost and properties during hazards (Haworth, 2016). 

Education concerning disaster risks

Another challenge is education relating to disaster risk as it acts as the primary cause for irresponsive interventions. However, as civil defense materials are not covered in Tanzania’s curriculum, public education is seen as one of the major challenges faced in the planning phase of management. This glitch causes numerous difficulties for responders and planners (Haworth, 2016).

Citizens’ irresponsive interventions

The culture of the Tanzanian community is that they assist during challenges. However, lack of understanding and knowledge of citizens, which try helping the disaster responders raises the challenges for the situation. These interfere with the appropriate implementation of the set plans for disaster response. Nowell, Bodkin, & Bayoumi (2017) postulate that lack of social awareness as a key to citizens’ irresponsive interventions.

How Tanzania disasters have shaped policies and planning of disaster management

Due to the reoccurrence of disasters, for instance, floods and drought, the Tanzanian government has been able to create programs for enhancing the country’s preparedness including training for responses, reconstruction, recovery, improving communication and coordination, creating awareness to the public concerning ways of tackling unforeseen disasters and establishing well-developed infrastructure. Nonetheless, the federal government has appointed teams whose roles are hazard identification through surveys to estimate the possible occurrence, vulnerability assessments which interlinks properties, future, and existing population as well as identified hazards. Also, they conduct a risk analysis to assist the government in the allocation of resources for future disasters and hazards (Quarantelli, Boin, & Lagadec 2018, p.74).

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A comprehensive hazard assessment incorporating risk analysis gives data needed for decision-makers to ascertain policy options as well as determining the proper strategies for mitigating human-made and natural hazards. Once vulnerabilities are identified, actions can be employed to reduce the risk (Quarantelli, Boin, & Lagadec 2018, p.81). Communities might lack technical skills and resources for undertaking a comprehensive disaster assessment; hence, intergovernmental cooperation becomes significant.


I believe a lot can be done to help improve Tanzania’s disaster management. As mentioned above, environmental degradation in Tanzania is due to desertification and deforestation, which are a major contributor to natural disasters and hazards, the government should encourage re-afforestation and afforestation programs to prevent the increasing deforestation due to exhaustion of trees. Much education and sensitization need to be carried out to encourage conservation of the environment; provide proper plans and policies for managing disasters and hazards. Also, The Tanzanian government should create well organized scientific data systems, information sharing, and networking’s that will assist in enhancing preparedness and provision of effective decisions during crisis management.

To overcome the arising issues related to hazards and disaster reduction, multi-dimensional and multi-level collaboration and coordination is significant among the Tanzanian government, NGOs, military, and international organizations. Similarly, it is vital to involve all sector of the society to reduce the risk and vulnerabilities, thus bridging the gaps between response, reconstruction, and preparedness. Furthermore, strengthening disaster reduction capabilities at the community levels is crucial to promote partnership.


  • Gupta, S., Starr, M. K., Farahani, R. Z., & Matinrad, N. (2016). Disaster management from a POM perspective: Mapping a new domain. Production and Operations Management25(10), 1611-1637.
  • Hambati, H., & Gaston, G. (2015). Revealing the vulnerability of urban communities to flood hazard in Tanzania: a case of the Dar es Salaam city ecosystem. International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research2(1), 3.
  • Haworth, B. (2016). Emergency management perspectives on volunteered geographic information: Opportunities, challenges, and change. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems57, 189-198.
  • Kalkman, J. P., & de Waard, E. J. (2017). Inter-organizational disaster management projects: Finding the middle way between trust and control. International journal of project management35(5), 889-899.
  • Nowell, B., Bodkin, C. P., & Bayoumi, D. (2017). Redundancy as a strategy in disaster response systems: A pathway to resilience or a recipe for disaster?. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management25(3), 123-135.
  • Quarantelli, E. L., Boin, A., & Lagadec, P. (2018). Studying future disasters and crises: A heuristic approach. In Handbook of disaster research (pp. 61-83). Springer, Cham.
  • Wilkinson, E., Weingärtner, L., Choularton, R., Bailey, M., Todd, M., Kniveton, D., & Cabot Venton, C. (2018). Forecasting hazards, averting disasters: Implementing forecast-based early action at scale. Overseas Development Institute (ODI).


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