Preparedness measures important to face disasters

PREPAREDNESS to face disasters is very important as it helps to reduce impacts that can occur in the area and cause hazard to society; this is also disaster management that requires skilled professionals who can respond to emergencies and manage both immediate and long-term results of disasters on human health.

Disaster Management is a multi-disciplinary field and brings professionals from several fields together as one team to respond to any kind of disaster.

Organisations such as emergency services, international humanitarian agencies and societies, disaster response agencies, NGOs, government agencies, military and volunteer groups are all involved in disaster management. Tanzanians have been urged to be prepared to create an environment which can be conducive to face disasters in order to reduce the effects to be large and thus bring big loss in the society.

How to plan better, prepare and respond appropriately to disasters for members of communities in disaster preparedness practices, to get skills is very important before the problem occurs.

Changing the households’ behaviour so that people can commit enough time and resources for their individual disaster preparations, and to pay attention to the existing systems in their places to ensure areas where there are weaknesses are changed according to the need is very important.

Identifying risks in their community and around people’s homes, how to develop practical plans for the households which include actions to be taken in advance of an emergency, how to pack an evacuation kit with food and equipment for 72 hours and also how to provide first aid to their neighbours and friends after an emergency is important to be considered.

The knowledge can immediately be utilised to help save lives and reduce loss of property if the problem occurs. Community’s attitudes towards disaster preparedness and practices will be improved if education is done to the community through dissemination of the knowledge about preparedness on radio, uses of newspapers, television and social media.

The recent fierce Freddy storm delivered its second punch to south eastern Africa causing landfall after brewing off and traversing the Indian Ocean should be made as a step to make preparations before disasters occur in the community.

The cyclone in Malawi caused deaths of many people while others were injured and went missing.

“The situation is very dire,” said Mr Guilherme Botelho, Emergency Project Coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Malawi. He said there are many casualties either others were wounded, missing or dead, or the numbers will only increase in the coming days,” he said.

Many people perished in mudslides that washed away homes in the country’s commercial capital, Blantyre.

Across the country, many people have been affected and others were displaced, with many got sheltered in schools and churches.

Recently in Mwanza City stakeholders of Ilemela municipality in the training of Rescue Preparedness Team which focused on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) whereby various methods to combat the challenge were discussed they expressed pleasure if the community can solve some challenges which can cause disaster.

The Director of the Disaster Management Department in Prime Minister’s Office, Major General Charles Mbuge said that the preparedness of the team is important as it helps to make them get prepared to face the possible disaster by embarking into measures to prevent the harm to occur and becoming serious in the community.

He said that since Ilemela Municipality is a place where disasters such as floods, fire in buildings, epidemic diseases, accidents of transport vehicles on land and water, strong winds, earthquakes and landslides happen therefore there was a need to equip training to stakeholders.

Major General Mbuge said due to the frequent situations of disasters in the area his office needed to build capacity for such a team in order to strengthen the community’s ability to prevent, reduce the effects and thus prepare to deal with disasters.

Assistant Project Officer of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Mr Reuben Jeremiah said that the training is important to bring the stakeholders together so that they can look at the best way to prepare the team and the community to deal with the problem early.

“There is a need for education for our society so that they can have a broad knowledge of how to avoid or reduce the harm that may happen,” said Mr Jeremiah.

Mr Jeremiah said that understanding the things to do before the impact occurs are an important component and it is emphasised to be done within the community according to the relevant need in a specific area.

Coordinator of the Red Cross Organisation in Ilemela Municipality, Mr Emmanuel Chayunga said that the joint meeting of disaster stakeholders at the Ilemela Municipality will help them get to know each other and thus make it easier for them to carry out rescue operations when disasters occur.

He said that more education should be directed to the community because they are the victims of disasters when they occur, so having awareness is important in dealing with the challenge that is mostly fuelled by climate change.

Disaster Risk Management Officer of International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ms Natalie Martinsson said that Mwanza being the second largest city in Tanzania and having a big population, is supposed to be prepared early to face some challenges caused by disasters.

Ms Martinsson said that disaster management requires skilled professionals who can respond to emergencies and manage both immediate and longterm results of disasters on human health. She said that in order to achieve the best solution all sectors should be coordinated to have preparedness measures early before disasters.

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