33 C
City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Disaster preparedness

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By Musa Bah

With the unprecedented amount of rains we are experiencing this year, and given that there is no sign of the rains stopping anytime soon, the issue of disaster preparedness has come to the fore once again. A lot of damage has already been reported in the country.

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There is rumour of a prediction of heavy rains [some say a storm] and that is indeed scary. Are we prepared enough for such a happening? And, if that were to happen [we pray to God that it doesn’t], will we be able to cope?

Mr President, in some countries, when things like this are about to happen, the government informs the public in advance and if need be, evacuate the residents of the area most likely to be affected. All this is geared towards protecting the citizenry which is a duty of a government, in fact, the first duty of the government. Sometimes, governments may need to protect citizens even from themselves. Thus, we see governments forcefully evacuating people.

 

Our National Disaster Management Agency should not be a reactionary agency which only responds to disasters after they have occurred. They should be so prepared that they will inform and advise the population well in advance. If need be, they may even urge the evacuation of the population in given areas.

 

So, Mr President, the National Disaster Management Agency should work with the Meteorology Department and the House Planning Unit to ensure that: a) houses are not erected in flood prone areas, b) there is adequate prediction and thus preparation for heavy rains, and c) that when there is a disaster due to heavy downpour, timely and enough relief is provided to the victims.

 

Mr President, some people may say that all this requires a lot of money. But the truth is that there are a lot of things we can do to avoid or prevent certain losses.

 

Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. When the need arises, we will see that citizens will come together and render a helping hand. If government leads the way, now that we have a democracy, citizens with the relevant expertise will come up with ways of making this a possibility.

Have a good day Mr President.

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