Unwelcome visitors, earthquakes are becoming a regular occurrence in the Great Lakes Region; and the more they visit, the more destruction they bring. They have struck twice in the space of only three weeks, killing many people and destroying property whose worth has been put at Frw5 billion by Prime Minister Bernard Makuza. Without sounding like alarmists, there is no reason to believe that yesterday’s early morning strike was the last one.
Which is why some kind of early warning system should be set up near earthquake-prone areas so that residents take some action however minimal, to evade the resultant effects of the quakes. They cannot stop them from happening, but at least they can leave their houses, which have been the biggest death traps so far.
According to the in-charge of Disaster Management Unit in the Prime Minister’s office, Rwanda is acquiring equipment that will help geological experts detect earthquake activity before it wreaks its deadly havoc on populations. This is a very commendable venture, and expensive as the whole project might be, it is advisable to continue with such a worthwhile investment.
Early warning systems – when they work – are very helpful in preventing or minimising losses of both lives and property. Action is taken well before disaster strikes; people are evacuated, and alternative accommodation found for them until nature has finished venting its fury. Countries that are prone to attacks like tornadoes, tsunami, monsoons or hurricanes have such warning systems.
Of course there are many other types of disasters they try to protect themselves against. The trick here is that they can do nothing to stop the onslaught of the natural elements, but the local leaders there, forearmed with information that disaster is about to strike, weigh their options and always come out of them stronger.
Let us get good equipment that can inform us about impending disasters like drought or even locust invasions – there is nothing impossible now in this world of fast-changing climate that can and is affecting the face of the world everyday for the worse.