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Gov’t urged to invest more in early warning systems

The Turkish Ambassador in Uganda Kerem Alp officiated a meeting to mark the disaster risk reduction day held at Makerere University School of Public Health. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Scientists have urged the government to adopt up to date early warning systems to guard against disasters that happen repeatedly but cause avoidable damage every time they strike.

Speaking at a meeting to mark the International Disaster Risk Reduction day on Wednesday, Prof. Virginia Murray, a scientist based at the United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction said they have published the new Hazard Information Profiles to guide countries on decisions relating to different disasters that they are at risk of.

Murray who was speaking to researchers at the Makerere University School of Public Health said the COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of waste, alerting healthcare managers to identify and plan early for the healthcare hazards that may arise in the future. She also called for regular reviews of the warning systems that Uganda has adopted.

In the new profiles,  the UN highlights that one barrier to sharing and using risk information effectively has been the lack of standardized definitions of hazards and a lack of guidance on the full range of hazards from hydro-meteorological, extraterrestrial, geological, environmental, chemical, biological, technological and societal that need to be addressed in risk management.

Commenting about the new profiles and disaster preparedness in the country, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean School of Public Health said Uganda is not moving at the right pace even with evidence of climate change effects in recent calamities that the country has suffered including floods and mudslides.

However, Kerem Alp, the Turkish Ambassador to Uganda who officiated at the meeting said communities need to be trained on how to detect calamities and how to mitigate the damage when they occur. In Turkey he said, they have so far trained three million people in a campaign they have dubbed the Disaster Training year.

Also, he said Turkey has designated a ministry to be in charge of climate change, becoming the first country in the world to make this move.

In Uganda however, as part of the efforts to curb the effects of climate change, a National Risk and vulnerabilities Atlas was launched last year with maps and graphics to give pointers on risk areas and how well such risks can be mitigated.

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