Anticipatory action key in addressing disasters, stakeholders say

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Anticipatory action key in addressing disasters, stakeholders say
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Stakeholders have called for anticipatory action in addressing disasters and emergencies.

Speaking during the second national dialogue on anticipatory action in Uganda organized by the Uganda Red Cross Society at Speke Hotel in Munyonyo, Eng.Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees said anticipating risks makes it easier to deal with them.

“Anticipating, preventing, and responding to disasters helps to deal with them before they escalate into full-blown crises.  By investing in early warning systems, strengthening community resilience, and mobilizing resources ahead of time, we can save lives, protect livelihoods, and safeguard the dignity of those affected by disasters,” Onek said.

“Most disasters are now predictable. This provides us   critical opportunities to prevent the potential disaster impacts prior to a shock by carrying actions prior of a hazard impact, save lives and build long-term resilience to mitigate the loss of lives and livelihoods.”

The minister pledged on behalf of government to put in place early warning systems that inform communities early enough, alert people whenever forecasts are received and to put in place systems that can respond early before disasters develop into crisis.

Antonio Querido the  FAO representative in Uganda said that with the country being highly disaster prone partly due to the impact of climate change, proactive active is the way to go.

We all recognize that Uganda is a highly disaster-prone country affected by several hazards. As an example, recently, Uganda has felt the impacts of El Niño that resulted in increased rainfall in many parts of the country leading to amongst other flooding and landslides, posing a threat to the lives and livelihoods of the Ugandan people.

“Coordinated effort to enhance the country’s resilience in the face of disasters and climate risks is crucial. It therefore requires us to shift our focus from responding to shocks after they have already happened to intervening in advance of a predicted shock through preventative and anticipatory actions aiming to mitigate its impact,” Querido said.

He said that such proactive actions are highly effective and cost-saving.

He mentioned their partnership with World Food Program using funds from the European Union in strengthening capacities of the government to reduce, anticipate and rapidly respond to the effects of shocks in all nine districts of Karamoja sub-region as one of the examples of this partnership.

Abdirahman Meygag, the World Food Program country representative said by leveraging early warning systems and pre-arranged financing mechanisms, stakeholders have the power to anticipate disasters before they strike and to act swiftly to reduce their impact.

“ This not only saves lives but also preserves livelihoods, builds resilience, and paves the way for sustainable development,” Meygag said.

 Collaboration

Stakeholders however said collaboration is key in achieving the desired goals in disaster management and mitigation.

“By harnessing the power of collaboration, we can amplify our impact and build a more resilient Uganda. Let us commit ourselves to fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and mobilizing resources to ensure that no one is left behind in the face of adversity. “

According to Robert Kwesiga, the  Secretary General of the Uganda Red Cross Society in 2023 alone, over 215,000 individuals were affected by various disasters in the country, leaving 47,000 displaced.

He however noted that it is high time technology is harnessed to enhance early warning systems and develop robust financial mechanisms that will support anticipatory actions across the country.

Kwesiga said Red Cross started the journey for anticipatory actions with initial forecast-based financing projects in Katakwi and Amuria.

 

 

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