By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: On Wednesday, under the theme, “Everything we do comes from the heart” while marking the Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, 2022, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies (RCS) released World Disasters Report 2022 dominated by experiences from COVID-19 pandemic that informed future preventive interventions.
It is reported that according to the according to World Health Organization (WHO) lives of over 6.5 million people were claimed by the COVID-19 catastrophe since it broke up in 2020.
The most unique element that was focused on in the report is intervention of local communities in efforts to manage unforeseen disasters.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja- Uganda’s Prime Minister revealed that the time is now to invest in preparedness interventions, equipping communities to monitor warning signs and be resilient in the case of disasters.
She went on to express Uganda government’s commitment in partnering with the Uganda Red Cross Society in interventions aimed at enhancing organized disaster response.
Nabbanja’s message was delivered virtually Dr. Jane Aceng Acero virtually since she was committed at Kyankwanzi National Leadership Institute.
To Dr. Joseph Muvawala the Executive Director National Planning Authority (NPA) admitted that the country (Uganda) was not prepared for COVID-19 saying that even now many countries are not prepared and yet there’s a likelihood that disasters will continue.
As mentioned before, he also emphasized local action in managing disasters.
A section of the report reads, [Preparedness must be local, because action at the community level is an essential component of any effective hazard response. From disease surveillance to earthquake shelters, local actors are on the front line, meaning they are well placed to achieve real change]
[…..local action harnesses the collective knowledge and actions of a community; for example, people often know their neighbors and are conscious of the most vulnerable. Working closely with communities also allows responders to identify their true wants and needs and to understand why they are reluctant to adopt health measures such as vaccination].
In his submission, Robert Kwesiga, the Secretary General for Uganda Red Crioss Society (URCS) there are two key levels things needed for disaster management that need to be done at different levels say at national and local level.
He said, at national level, ‘what is the policy framework, legislative framework and national coordination mechanisms , how are the funding frameworks coming into place.
“Then when you take it to the community, there are actors like Red Cross but also Local Government. On one hand you have the Local government with a disaster profile of specific areas and that’s why we have been working with district authorities to develop District Disaster preparedness profiles”. Said Kwesiga.
The event was took place at President’s Conference Room – Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with many dignitaries including;
United Nations Resident Coordinator, H.E Susan Ngongi Namondo, European Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Grace Muliisa,- Executive Director for EcoBank and others.