Rwanda to seek ITU help in disaster management

Rwanda is ready to learn and make use of resources from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to respond to disaster, a government official said.
Phone handset.
Phone handset.

Rwanda is ready to learn and make use of resources from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to respond to disaster, a government official said.

Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA) Executive Director, revealed this during the three-day training workshop on using telecommunications  before and during emergency.

Participants discussed how communication networks help in the prevention of disaster preparedness. “ITU knows more possible solutions to the problems,” Bakuramutsa noted.

He proposed that there was a need for regional and international collaboration in the right use of technology in case of disaster.

The Rita boss cited provision of free equipment and the use of universal access to phones in case of disaster as possible solutions.

He explained that ITU has carried out researches in several countries that have experienced disaster. Adding that their information and experience, will be shared, helping Rwanda foresee parts which are vulnerable to disasters.

Bakuramutsa advised that in Rwanda, communication operators have to coordinate and communicate the same message when it comes to emergency.

Cosmas L. Zarazara, in charge of Emergency Telecommunication in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Development said that globally, over 2 million people have been affected by disaster, and 95 percent of deaths occur in least developed countries.

He added that US$1 spent on mitigation saves about US$20. Zarazara added that telephones can be used to alert where there is danger, but the problem is that most vulnerable areas have no satisfactory access to communication.

“There are few Africans with communication facilities, which makes it hard to access parts where disasters have occurred,” Zarazara noted.     

He also advised that at the time of disaster, countries have to use their local capability, then, if it is beyond, the international community intervenes.

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