An Examination of the Humanitarianism-Disaster Management Nexus in Tanzania’s Policy and Legal Framework


  • Hamudi Ismail Majamba



Disaster management; humanitarianism; policy and law; Tanzania


The use of law, the main tool for implementing policy, to regulate and coordinate disaster management, preparedness and response systems features in many jurisdictions. Also, international guidance on the use of effective laws and policies, which emphasize taking on board critical stakeholders, including humanitarian responders is available.  Consequently, the government of Tanzania has promulgated a new disaster management law as part of a wider reform of the legal framework to regulate disaster management and response systems which seek to involve stakeholders at all stages. This article analyses the extent to which the restructured legal framework and supporting policy address humanitarian responders who provide informal assistance, often before formal government intervention. The article traces the history of disaster management policies and laws in the country in the context of the humanitarianism – disaster management nexus. It focuses on the aftermath of the earthquake that ravaged Kagera Region in Bukoba district in the northern west part of the country in September 2016. This analysis is supported with field data from Bukoba district. The findings reveal that the legal framework for regulating disaster management and response system does not reflect international and regional clarion calls for engaging informal humanitarian responders.  Recommendations on how this gap can be addressed are provided, laying emphasis on incorporating the clarion calls in order to improve the country’s legal and policy framework for disaster response and management systems.