Two months after the Senate heard that Rwanda had no clear disaster management policy, the Minister of Internal Security, Musa Fazil Harerimana, has said that his office will need Rfw2.9 billion to purchase equipment necessary for foreseeing and managing disaster outbreaks in the country.
Harerimana said this while appearing before the Senate to explain government’s strategy on disaster preparedness and management.
He told members of the Senate that final touches were being put on plans to set up the Disaster Management Centre before the close of the year.
“We are almost done with setting up the Disaster Management Centre, so far, we are finalising the policy on prevention and management which we hope to table in parliament before the end of the year,” he said
Senator Rwigamba Balinda pointed out that there was need to focus more on disaster prevention than anything else.
“When we talk about disaster preparedness, we are talking about something that requires a lot of money and other costly resources like a state-of-the-art laboratory where we will get to know what disaster is coming and ofcourse personnel. I think we should focus more on how we can prevent or prepare for disasters before anything else,” he said
Harerimana’s apprearence before the Senate follows the surprise expressed by Senators upon learning that the current disaster preparedness unit had no budget, equipment, was critically understaffed and is not established by any law.
The Minister reassured Senators that the budget for the equipment was on the Cabinet’s schedule and would soon be discussed as the law on disaster preparedness will very soon be tabled before the Lower Chamber of Parliament.
The Disaster Preparedness Unit was initially under the Ministry of Local Government before it was shifted to the Prime Minister’s Office. Currently, it is in the Ministry of Internal Security under the National Police.
Harerimana explained to the Senate that the confusion of where the unit falls had been solved.
“Disaster preparedness and management is a security concern that can be handled by police and the army. We did not see any better institutions to handle this issue,” he said.