Gov’t to enhance rapid response to disasters

The provision of prompt one-hour response to disaster risk victims is among the main goals of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) in the new fiscal year. Minister Marcel Gatsinzi disclosed this, yesterday, as members of the Lower Chamber’s Committee on National Budget and Patrimony of the Parliament examined MIDIMAR’s budgetary allocation and discussed issues pertaining to the ministry.
Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs Minister Gen Marcel Gatsinzi
Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs Minister Gen Marcel Gatsinzi

The provision of prompt one-hour response to disaster risk victims is among the main goals of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) in the new fiscal year.

Minister Marcel Gatsinzi disclosed this, yesterday, as members of the Lower Chamber’s Committee on National Budget and Patrimony of the Parliament examined MIDIMAR’s budgetary allocation and discussed issues pertaining to the ministry.

The minister enlightened legislators, including Jean Damascène Murara, on the matter after the latter requested for details on the actual plan.

 “Let alone that one-hour rapid response, what capacity do you have to reach to people in times of need – what real plans? – you should show us the real procedures,” said Murara.

 “The ‘One hour’ is what actually must be attained in this seven-year mandate – it will not be accomplished immediately, but it is capacity that we will build step by step,” Gatsinzi replied.

“We have plans to intervene as fast as possible, but in the next seven years, it will be under one hour”.

He also stressed that the intervention will not be the sole responsibility of the ministry’s officials but that of all relevant authorities.

“That is why there are disaster management committees at the district level, which we will also facilitate accordingly so that they alert us swiftly,” the minister explained.

The ministry’s budgetary allocation is over Rwf 1.07 billion, a seven percent increase from last year.

The minister noted that MIDIMAR’s main activities for the 2011/12 fiscal year include putting in place an effective early warning system; conducting vulnerability and hazard mapping in disaster prone areas; increasing skills in disaster risk reduction; as well as establishing the prompt response plan.

He, however petitioned the MPs to understand that his ministry needs a reasonable budget to successfully carry out the activities.

According to the minister, MIDIMAR lacks minimum equipment including excavators, elevators, fire fighting equipment, and earth movers, for disaster intervention.

The police, the army and other able institutions are required to provide support – under the ministry’s coordination – whenever disaster strikes. 

Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka, the Chairperson of the Committee, and other members, promised to back the ministry in all ways possible – including advising and playing an advocacy role, so that it achieves its objectives.

Ends

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