The Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, Gen Marcel Gatsinzi has urged regional countries to enhance their disaster preparedness capacity as well as build appropriate capacity to mitigate the impact of dsasters.
He made the call, yesterday, while opening a five-day forum dubbed Disaster Response Tabletop Exercise (TTX), organised by the ministry in conjunction with various US organs.
Gatsinzi said that the readiness of countries and the entire region to manage a highly disruptive pandemic is of prime concern.
The specialised training workshop that brings together 100 participants aims at enhancing disaster management, humanitarian assistance and counteracting pandemic diseases.
“We are here because we all realise that the occurrence of a devastating pandemic is not science fiction. Preparedness for a potential pandemic is of utmost importance and requires the coordinated action of all segments of government and society.”
He added that due to the potential speed of transmission and impending far reaching effects, waiting until a pandemic strikes can be disastrous.
The five-day workshop will include various training exercises, presentations by field experts, and discussions amongst participants on how to enhance a country’s preparedness and response strategies when faced with various forms of natural disasters or pandemics.
It is partly organised by the US Africa Command, USAFRICOM.
USAFRICOM’s objective as a partner in pandemic and disaster programs is to train senior and mid level military leaders in disaster management and humanitarian assistance, assisting partner armies in validating their pandemic disaster response plans among others.
“With capacity building, US government deals with a pandemic, from planning to post operation phase and assisting partner nations with protecting populations from deadly contagions,” said Brigadier General Stayce Harris from USAFRICOM.
The Government was also advised to coordinate agencies in disaster management, which they maintain remains a challenge.