#Editorial

Rethinking disaster preparedness!

Jul 24, 2020, 10:30 AM

Preparing for disasters is one of the fundamental and right approaches communities and even government need to encourage to minimise the impact of disaster when it strikes.

It is an undeniable fact that timely preparedness is the key to saving lives and property. We should always bear in mind that preparedness is not only about information; it is also about proper ways to respond to the disaster.

People should always put into consideration suitable locations to live especially when looking a place to call a home. Buying compounds or building structures on lying terrains is only compounding problems in areas pronged to floods.

This past week alone we've all witnessed how some families affected by recent downpour struggled to come to terms. People should heed to the advice given by city planners or officials from the department of physical planning.

Flooding is a perennial problem in The Gambia and the disasters this past week is a wake up call.

At one instance, we've seen a poor elderly landlord who was forced to flee due to flood waters that inundated his home amid these trying moments of covid-19 pandemic.

The troubled experience by this elderly man is almost the same to those families settling or living on low lying terrains in parts of West Coast and other regions.

However, these past floods have shown that more can be done in both preparedness and disaster mitigation. The variation in climate pattern is here to stay, so people must not only brace up for more rains but also super typhoon.

Well, the reality about disasters; natural or man-made, is that the poor suffer more. Effective management of disasters is needed not only for preserving growth, but equally for addressing poverty and reducing inequality.

Disaster mitigation saves lives, reduces injury and prevents property loss. Mitigation efforts can not only reduce the damage from disasters but can make recovery less time-consuming and costly.

It is a fact that it is almost impossible to prevent floods in the country. Nor can it be predicted. But focus on recovery and preparedness and mitigation measures can certainly help reduce the impact it make on people’s lives and property.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

"We cannot stop natural disasters bu t we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn't have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness."

Petra Nemcova

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