Kalkrand residents want early warning systems for disasters

18 Jul 2018 07:20am
KALKRAND, 18 JUL (NAMPA) – Residents of Kalkrand on Tuesday said early warning systems monitoring possible disasters in the constituencies, such as Mariental, should also be implemented in settlements and villages as some houses are built in or near riverbeds.
They said this during a road show by the Hardap Regional Council on disaster risk management awareness in the region that started on 09 July.
Members of the community are of the opinion that most informal settlements in the region are built in areas prone to floods, threatening human lives.
They said the local authorities and settlements in the region should identify suitable areas to relocate people, but added that this can be hampered by the non-availability of serviced plots due to limited or no funds.
One resident said people should be educated on the standard operating procedures and guidelines to follow when disaster strikes.
“We really don’t know what to do when we are faced with natural disasters and I think this is a good thing the regional council is doing to educate us. We need more information on the topic in languages we understand,” he said.
The regional council’s Public Relations Officer, Elsie Petha-Kariseb explained that the purpose of the road show is to establish a disaster risk management committee on local authority, settlement and constituency level that will ensure timeous information-sharing sessions as well as early warning signs monitoring.
“The local authorities or town councils within a constituency have the mandate as per the Local Authorities Act to ensure basic services are delivered to the community and the safety of human lives is prioritised, including relocation and cost related to it.”
Settlement areas fall under the regional council and should be catered for by the council.
Petha-Kariseb said standard operating procedures are still being drafted by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The National Disaster Risk Management Policy seeks to outline a coherent, transparent and inclusive policy on disaster risk management with a proportionate emphasis on disasters of different kinds, severity and magnitude that may occur in Namibia.
All six constituencies in the Hardap Region will establish disaster risk management committees that will conduct community-based disaster risk assessments within the constituencies and report to the responsible councillors, who will act as chairpersons.
The committees will consist of various stakeholders from governmental institutions such as nurses, teachers, law enforcement officers and agricultural staff.
Other awareness sessions will take place in Maltahöhe on Wednesday, Kriess and Gibeon on Thursday and Mariental on Friday.