The Senate standing committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, October 13, raised concerns over the country’s lack of a proper disaster management plan.
The Senators say, the disaster management unit has no action plan, is hugely understaffed, lacks equipment and there is no law establishing it.
The Senators did well to bring the important issue to light. However, the onus is on the relevant authorities to find a quick solution.
It is urgent that a specific policy for disaster management is enacted and the procedure should be expedited, considering that we never know when disaster will strike.
Once the policy is in place, the concerned institutions and units can then set up with programmes and measures designed to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from the effects of all disasters that could hit Rwanda.
It is always wise to take a proactive approach to disaster management and to promote a culture of prevention and preparedness among individuals and institutions. If people are well prepared, the damage and the time to recover are minimised.
Given the threats of natural disasters occurring in various parts of the world, from volcanic eruptions, heavy rains, among others, the continued absence of a disaster management policy, puts us at risk of dire consequences, should any disaster occur.
Disasters are known to claim lives, destroy property and community infrastructures, and any initiative to reduce the impact must be supported without delay or hesitation.
Any increased disaster impact will probably lead to re-channelling of development funds to address the consequences, thus putting the country under greater financial strain, ultimately undermining development.
The Senators who have brought the important issue to the fore, should make this a priority and closely follow up until a national disaster management policy and unit are established and fully functional.