The GSM Association including Zain and Ericsson have launched a joint initiative that will enable emergency rescue efforts easy and efficient in Lake Victoria covering three of the East Africa countries; Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) has received the Mobile Positioning System that will facilitate search and rescues, fleet movement and tracking. With the state-of-the-art facility, emergency authorities will receive mobile signals and then relay to the Rescues Coordination Center for immediate action. The joint effort by the three telecommunication entities will save lives and bring development across the East Africa region. Recent reports show that between 1990 and 2008, more than 1,190 people died in the Lakes in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. In 2006 alone 100 people died in separate accidents on Lake Victoria. Extending the mobile network coverage throughout the Lake and the establishment of boat rescue services to promote safety and security has been the priority. The coverage now allows for communication and SMS exchange to and from phones across a much wider area, 80 percent of the total fishing zones. Lake Victoria water is shared by the three water states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Tanzania is having the largest share of 54 percent, Uganda 42 percent with Kenya having the smallest portion only 6 percent. Substantially, this will be reducing the estimated 5,000 fishing-related deaths each year and fuelling economic and social development of the lakeside communities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world with nearly 200,000 fishermen, 35 million people living along its shores and a fishing fleet of more than 70,000 boats. Zain Africa CEO Mr Chris Gabriel says: The system will change and improve the social and economic well-being of the people whose livelihoods are dependent on the lake. He adds that the $20 million investment project demonstrates that governments and the private sector can work together to bring genuine improvement to the lives of communities. The project has seen an extension of Zains existing telecoms infrastructure, through the installation of an additional 21 new mobile sites around the lake where the majority of navigation-related accidents are happening. In conjunction with the Global Humanitarian Forum, 19 Automatic Weather Stations have been installed on the mobile towers. These use the network to provide the national weather bureaus with more accurate regional information. In addition, the number 110 reserved for Lake Victoria Maritime emergency call has been implemented, and the Emergency Command and Control product from Ericsson has been deployed to handle emergency response. © 2010, Newstime Africa.