Expecting the unexpected – How ready are we?

The global economic crisis has affected the third world countries the most. Poverty has reigned in our lives hence lacking any hope. Our thinking capacity is lacking due to poverty. Recently a witness at the tanker fire that happened near Molo in Kenya said that a man deliberately started the fire after police officers at the scene asked for a bribe to allow him to collect fuel.
Tanker fire.
Tanker fire.

The global economic crisis has affected the third world countries the most. Poverty has reigned in our lives hence lacking any hope. Our thinking capacity is lacking due to poverty.

Recently a witness at the tanker fire that happened near Molo in Kenya said that a man deliberately started the fire after police officers at the scene asked for a bribe to allow him to collect fuel.

The tanker fire came only three days after the downtown branch of Nakumatt, a popular supermarket chain, caught fire. The cause of the fire in Nakumatt is unclear, but many people died after being trapped on the first floor and staffs have been accused of locking doors to prevent looting, thus preventing people from escaping.

The response to both disasters drew criticism, with a critical eye being cast on the role of Kenya’s disaster management body.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that the tanker fire came as a direct result of poverty, warning that people were being pushed into doing “desperate things just to get through one more day”.

Hundreds of people have died in tanker fires in Africa in recent years. There have been incidents in Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana as impoverished locals have scrabbled to scoop up fuel.

The saddest thing is that this happens repeatedly. Like in Nigeria these kinds of explosions have always happened and people always die.

Drought has been the major course of these fires. It has been exceptionally dry in Australia and the particular day that the wild fire broke, Saturday’s temperature was 117 degrees, the relative humidity was 7 percent, and the wind was gusting to 50 mph. 

There can never be anything more hellish, fire wise. Australia’s vegetation, such as eucalyptus and gum trees, contains flammable aromatic oils hence the rate at which the fire spread.

The fires near Melbourne southeastern Australia destroyed more than 750 homes, left 5,000 people homeless, and burned 1,100 square miles of land, the Victoria Country Fire Service said.

Incase of any occurrences, is Rwanda ready to combat such disaster? Is the fire brigade department ready? Incase of a fuel tanker having an accident what would be the Government’s action?

Director of the Disaster Management center Celestine Twahirwa, in an interview with local media said they were prepared and are working together with the two fire stations in the country.

They have conducted workshops across the nation in creating awareness incase of any occurrences. The centre is always in place monitoring the country and takes any suspicions seriously.

The disaster management programme targets communities living in the areas that are prone to Flooding, landslides, volcanic eruptions and food insecurity. Through health and care programmes.

The disaster management programme strives to reduce vulnerability of the targeted communities to climatic shocks and ensuing food insecurity, which is affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the country.

Disaster risk maps are drawn and campaigns have been undertaken to raise community awareness on the major hazards in order to enhance local coping mechanisms. In parallel, the Rwanda Red Cross (RRC) strengthens its own institutional capacities.

The focus being on decentralizing disaster management functions. Professional disaster response teams and contingency stocks will be established in all branches.

“The firemen are trained in Germany” Fred Gasasira of the fire brigade department pointed out. He highlighted some instances when his department has responded to some emergencies such as the fire in Akagera National Park.

“It took some time from Kigali due to the distance but with the help of military forces, the fire was off within no time. There was another case of earth quake in Kameme where helicopters were used to rescue the victims. This made Rwandans have confidence in their Government and its Governance in such times.” He concluded. 

Contact: karuthum@gmail.com

 

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