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Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation
News article22 March 2024Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, Joint Research Centre4 min read

Tanzania enhances national CBRN risk mitigation response through major live training exercise supported by the EU

Staff in PPE during CBRN field exercise in Tanzania in March 2024
© EU and TAEC


CBRN field exercises are coordinated activities which present potential real-life scenarios under simulated situations that law enforcement officers, emergency services and other response units might face if deployed in case of a CBRN threat. These exercises represent a useful tool to test and build up the countries’ technical and operational capabilities in the event of a real-life CBRN emergency.

With several state agencies involved in each exercise, CBRN field exercises can engage hundreds of participants from national agencies, international organisations and subject experts working together towards a common goal: to make countries and regions safer.

A first-ever CBRN training and simulation exercise

From 11 – 14 March 2024, over 70 experts from across Tanzania's emergency response agencies participated in an intensive training program on handling chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents. The 4-day initiative featured classroom instruction, field exercises, and culminated in a high-profile multi-agency simulation at the Port of Dar es Salaam.

The program addressed gaps in national CBRN preparedness identified through Tanzania's newly adopted CBRN National Action Plan. Participants from fire services, police, hospitals, ports authority and other key agencies received specialized training from regional instructors on critical topics like CBRN agent detection, hazmat sampling, operating protective gear, decontamination, incident command and multi-agency coordination.

Established in the context of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, this was Tanzania’s first ever CBRN training and simulation exercise.

The capstone event on March 14th tested these skills through a realistic simulated response to a chemical and radiological release at the Port of Dar es Salaam, a facility that handles thousands of tonnes of goods that include CBRN materials. Following a staged spill and casualties, first responders in full protective equipment practiced emergency protocols from detection and hazard assessment to decontamination and incident management. The complex scenario challenged participants to demonstrate coordinated command and control capabilities across CBRN disciplines.

Tanzania's Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa
The Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa served as the guest of honour, joined by the Minister of Science and Technology, EU Ambassador Christine Grau, and other senior officials.
© EU and TAEC

See the event's full photogallery

Prime Minister endorses key CBRN preparedness milestones

Hosted by the EU CBRN CoE National Focal Point for Tanzania, Professor Lazaro Busagala, Tanzania's highest leadership witnessed the unfolding exercise and endorsed key CBRN preparedness milestones.

The Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa served as the guest of honour, joined by the Minister of Science and Technology, EU Ambassador Christine Grau, and other senior officials. PM Majaliwa, whose office is mandated with response to disasters in the country, took the opportunity to formally launch Tanzania's CBRN National Action Plan and a new Radiological/Nuclear Response Plan during the event's closing ceremony.

"With this enhanced expertise and strategic framework, our nation has taken a profound step in mitigating the threat from CBRN materials," stated Professor Busagala.

The live training elevated skills while the new policies establish a comprehensive governance structure to coordinate prevention, preparedness and response activities nationwide.

The PM lauded the participants for displaying great skills and knowledge during the demonstration. He expressed his gratitude to the EU for supporting Tanzania to hold the first ever CBRN training and simulation exercise. He directed the NFP and his team to engage other stakeholders in establishment of a Centre dedicated to CBRN matters in Tanzania.

Professor Lazaro Busagala, EU CBRN CoE National Focal Point for Tanzania
Professor Lazaro Busagala, EU CBRN CoE National Focal Point for Tanzania.
© EU and TAEC

See the event's full photogallery

Building sustainable CBRN risk mitigation in Eastern and Central Africa

The exercise was organized under the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence, which has facilitated Tanzania's CBRN preparedness journey since 2021.

"Through our partnership, we can build a more secure world against threats that respect no borders," Ambassador Grau remarked, pledging the EU's continued support.

Televised live to raise public awareness, the demonstration marked Tanzania's commitment to safeguarding its people and economic assets from CBRN risks through a whole-of-government approach.

The EU CBRN Centres of Excellence will continue building sustainable national capabilities as Tanzania implements its new action plans in the years ahead.

To learn more about how the EU CBRN CoE is supporting strengthening CBRN risk mitigation in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA), please visit the ECA Regional Secretariat page


  The simulation exercise  
A forklift topples on its side and a 100 litre capacity drum falls onto the ground. A yellow powder spills and a large plume of yellowish smoke appears from the affected area. The driver and his assistant immediately fall unconscious. In a few minutes, several workers begin to sneeze, cough, vomit while others experienced swelling of the throat and severe headache. Despite their breathing problems, the victims are seen crawling away from the highly contaminated area. Panicked personnel at the port begin screaming and running. The port Safety officer quickly assesses the situation and realises that he needs urgent assistance and immediately calls the local police station.  The port police arrive immediately and cordon off the area using yellow tape. The Director for Disaster Management from the Prime Ministers office activates CBRN special teams as he suspects the presence of toxic substances. He makes this deduction from the observed symptoms of the casualties and the label on the fallen drum (UN 2909) which had also fallen on top of a container labelled (UN 1017). The evident yellow powder on the ground and fumes was also indicative of hazardous materials. The 1st responders arrive within 30 minutes and receive briefings from the port police who had assumed the Incident Command. A chemical and Radiation specialist takes over the Incident Management. The new Incident Commander quickly distributes the roles and responsibilities whereby the safety officer is tasked with his allocated responsibilities such as checking the direction of the wind which should be upwind uphill, proper donning of the PPE before entering the hot zone, safety of the responders and the victims once they were ready for evacuation.



Publication date
22 March 2024
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments | Joint Research Centre
CBRN areas
  • Bio-safety/bio-security
  • Crisis management
  • First response
  • Import/export control
  • Post incident recovery
  • Protection of material/facilities
  • Public health impact mitigation
  • Safety and security
CBRN categories
  • Chemical
  • Biological
  • Radiological
  • Nuclear
CoE Region
  • ECA - Eastern and Central Africa