Adaption to disaster preparedness

By IAfrica
In Gambia
Sep 1st, 2014

Disaster preparedness is one critical thing that people have to adapt to in mitigating the impact of disasters when they strike. We are now in the middle of the rains and the country has already experienced torrential rains, which often puts flooding of urban communities in the news. This is of course nothing new, as it has become a yearly phenomenon.  The effect is destruction of buildings, loss of property and in some cases loss of lives. 

While the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) is working hard to mitigate the effects of these floodings, the fact that it has become an annual affair makes it incumbent on us to renew our call for pro-active disaster preparedness for flood-prone communities. 

We need not reiterate that in order to minimise the perpetual seasonal disaster in such settlements, there is the need to promote a more people-centered approach in the process, because the principal resources of any community are its inhabitants and local stakeholders, who play an important part in the development process. It follows that the people have thorough knowledge of the area and are familiar with the factors that generate risk and limit development. 

Consequently, they are the best managers to guarantee sustainable development and harmonious coexistence of society and the environment. Therefore, active involvement of all, dedication and teamwork among all stakeholders in the area will without doubt ensure a sustainable local development and disaster risk reduction. 

More importantly, those who have a stake in urban development have to be associated with the process of hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment as well as planning to reduce the impact of natural disasters. And also, general awareness has to be raised so that the communities can understand the importance of disaster risk management and act accordingly. 

Preparedness initiatives should flow down to the community and household levels, and social norms should serve to build resilient urban communities by not only improving the urban services but also making the urban areas safe. More efforts are also needed for the mainstreaming of disaster reduction strategies into local governance system.

Furthermore, to guarantee sustainability to local and urban development processes, disaster risk reduction must be conceived as an ongoing process of planning and implementation prevention and alleviation measures that must be designed to address the situation before, during and after the occurrence of disasters. 

To build more resilient communities, it is imperative that we strengthen the process of information sharing, strategic planning, dissemination and networking through the empowerment of the local people.

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