Emergencies, Disaster Preparedness and Response

Key Results at a Glance

New Disaster Management Act formulated, incorporating key issues from the Hyogo Framework for Action. The Act emphasises the conversion of the two Disaster Management Departments (DMDs) into Agencies, empowering each to more effectively fulfil their duties.

Internationally agreed disaster management gender and human rights standards incorporated into revised National Operational Guidelines, ensuring more effective assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of affected populations in times of emergency. Three UN agencies—UNDP, UNFPA and WFP—collaborated to ensure integration of issues pertaining to SRH, food security and entitlements. Two disaster simulation exercises undertaken to test guidelines and existing coordination frameworks, involving Government, NGOs, CSOs and media, on the mainland and Zanzibar. Identified coordination gaps addressed through follow-up Action Plan.

Community leaders in disaster prone districts on both the mainland and in Zanzibar enabled to participate in and lead exercises on vulnerability capacity assessments, with five Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans (EPRP) consequently developed. In line with the NOG, Community Managed Targeting and Distribution (CMTD) mechanisms adopted to address targeting (inclusion and exclusion) errors. Communities identified the most in need using their own criteria, resulting in the inclusion of most vulnerable groups including women and children, elderly and disabled persons.

Emergency Communication Strategy and Communication Tool Kit developed, informed by a baseline survey capturing communities’ perception of emergency information. Disaster Management Committees and radio/TV messages utilised to ensure preparedness and mitigation measures towards drought, floods and cholera.

Reduced incidences of threats to crops from pests and diseases with improved food security outcomes, following control operations informed by district level early warning systems. Monitoring also feeds into regional efforts to track trans-boundary pests.

Food and non-food assistance delivered to most affected households identified under biannual food and nutrition surveys. Assessments conducted and supported jointly by UNICEF, FAO and WFP; contributing to more holistic and effective interventions. The collaboration also enables application of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification to standardise the severity and magnitude of food insecurity in Tanzania for cross country comparison.

Responsible Ministries enabled to focus their preparedness and response plans according to identified health hazard areas in line with Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management principles. Health service providers consequently equipped with essential emergency response skills to reduce causalities and avert death during times of emergency.

Emergency health stocks established and prepositioned in six regions namely Mbeya, Mororogoro, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and Lindi. The kits comprise of medicines, midwifery kits, bed nets, resuscitation and other equipment which are meant to serve 50,000 people for at least six to eight weeks.

Emergency-WASH preparedness stocks procured and prepositioned in six key regional locations namely Shinyanga, Lindi, Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Dodoma and Kilimanjaro. These are being managed by the DMD of PMO-RALG  and targeted to cater for 20,000 people in the first six to eight weeks of an emergency. There is also a pre-approved contingency contract with a local implementing partner (Tanzanian Red Cross Society) which allows the Society to utilize funds from its own resources for undertaking rapid assessment and immediate lifesaving responses during small to medium scale emergencies and thereafter be reimbursed by the UN.

Health and water staff across 12 emergency prone districts in 6 regions capacitated to respond to epidemics such as cholera and other waterborne related diseases, common during floods. With UNICEF and WHO support, issues of WASH and health were integrated in the EPRP ensuring local communities are better prepared to respond to outbreaks of water borne diseases.

Minimal Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health in Crisis rolled-out; ensuring national partners are equipped to respond to reproductive health and gender concerns in disasters.

Education in Emergencies preparedness and response enhanced following production and dissemination of a simplified version of the orientation package for districts and schools. 

Programme At a Glance


Emergencies, Disaster Preparedness and Response


Enhance the disaster management capacity of the Government of Tanzania


July 2011 – June 2015



Implementing Agencies



Government of the United Republic of Tanzania

Total 4-year Budget

(In US$)



Poor women, children, men and populations most vulnerable to emergencies and disaster


UN Emergencies and Disaster Relief Action Plan

Key Activity

The United Nations will help build the capacity for:-


Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Chief Minister's Office (CMO) - Disaster Management Departments (DMDs) to effectively lead Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) with a focus on areas most susceptible to disasters


Communities to have access to improved credible emergency information to enable early action


Relevant ministries, departments, agencies, local government authorities and non-state actors to be prepared, to have adequate sectoral capacity and to provide an effective intra coordinated response in WASH, health, education, protection, agriculture, food security and nutrition in emergencies


Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) - Disaster Management Departments (DMDs) to provide timely access to emergency food assistance to food insecure and vulnerable households in emergency situations


Total 4-year Budget (in US$)



National Development Goals

(2011 – 2015)

National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty

                MKUKUTA II              

Zanzibar Poverty Reduction Plan


  • Promoting and protecting human rights for all, particularly for poor women, children, men and the vulnerable.
  • Strengthen the rule of law, respect for human rights and access to justice.


Available Project Documents

UNDAP Documents

Emergencies and Disaster Relief Fact Sheet

Emergencies 2011-2012 Annual Work Plan

Millennium Development Goals

Challenges and Opportunities

Tanzania is vulnerable to repeated natural disasters, shifts in agricultural productivity due to climate change, declining environmental sustainability and food insecurity. These challenges require well-organized, multi-sector emergency early warning and preparation systems.

Technically speaking, the policies, strategies, plans and structures needed to support disaster management in Tanzania are in place. However, careful analysis reveals widespread weaknesses in prevention and disaster mitigation strategies, preparedness, emergency responsive capacity and sustainable recovery options. In one example, the Government of Tanzania conducts integrated food security and nutrition assessments at least twice yearly, but due to lack of capacity, the assessments are not comprehensive.

In Tanzania, Emergency and Disaster response is centrally coordinated to ensure attention from the highest level of the executive branch. In keeping with international best practice, relevant ministries are required to coordinate their emergency and disaster response through the Emergency and Disaster Response directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Vice-President’s Office in Zanzibar.  Unfortunately, key line ministries lack the capacity to prioritize emergency and disaster strategies in their own policies and planning; the effect is that key services are not readily available when disaster strikes. Rapid response is further delayed by the limited availability of immediately deployable, dedicated emergency and disaster response funds.

Locally, government and communities lack awareness of emergency and disaster response. During crises, communication needs such as early warning and early action bulletins are often unavailable. This is due to a lack of access to technology and skills within ministries, departments and agencies. 


United Nations in Action

UN assistance is enhancing the disaster management capacity of government authorities and local communities to maintain effective and coordinated emergency preparedness and response. This includes assisting the Government to establish effective communication mechanisms to enable communities to prepare for and respond to disasters timely and effectively. The goal is to improve early warning systems at the district, ward and village levels as well as to improve coordination and leadership capacity of central government.

The UN is assisting in building supply stocks and providing access to them, as well as meeting food security needs ahead of disasters.

In addition, the UN is developing sector level monitoring, stocking of necessary supplies in vulnerable areas ahead of time and other support capacities to ensure intra-governmental coordination in core areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and nutrition, education, protection, agriculture and food security.

Nutrition in emergencies is addressed through support to ministries, departments and agencies. The goal is to establish a responsive food distribution and needs assessment system that addresses the most vulnerable populations. The UN will work to ensure that the Government continues to refine targeting criteria for the populations most in need of humanitarian assistance.

The UN is also helping to educate vulnerable communities about the importance of preparing for disasters to help reduce their impact.