A Tanzanian geologist on Thursday suggested the need for east African countries to come up with a regional center that will be responsible for surveying and monitoring geological patterns.

Elisante Mshiu, a geologist at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), hopes a well-equipped center responsible for the entire region will offer timely, relevant, and useful information, thus minimizing harm in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes.

His suggestion came at a time when the country is still recovering from a deadly earthquake that killed at least 17 people, destroyed 840 houses and left thousands homeless in Kagera region last week.

“Buying equipment for earthquake detection and other gadgets is expensive for individual countries, but it’s easy if countries work as a team,” the expert suggested.

Mshiu also suggested the need of more cooperation among east African universities, which will enable more research on the issue. A huge geological knowledge gap has been noticed as the earthquake hit the region last week.

Joint efforts among East African Community (EAC) member countries will help mobilize resources to empower geological institutions to at least offer warnings and detailed information of natural disasters, he said.

The expert also called for Tanzania to consider reviewing policies, especially in areas of construction, so that buildings will be more resistant to disasters.