Zambia: Let's Mitigate Floods Early!

THERE is always need to have a contingency plan in any case of major floods looking at the rainfall calculations that saw most parts of the country received normal to above rainfall if flooding is to be averted.

The just ended rainy season saw some flooding in areas like Gwembe, Mambwe, Chilubi including some other parts of the country and Lusaka included.

It is not a secret that floods causes displacement of people not forgetting the devastation on infrastructure such as roads, bridges and houses in addition to destroying of crops, livestock and damaging houses.

Thus the appeal by the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition (CSO-SUN) is timely especially bearing in mind the adverse economic effects that flooding has on infrastructure, crops and livestock while the displacement of people brings with it a humanitarian crisis.

This therefore calls on the various government wings to closely work with stakeholders to plan ahead to prevent the challenge of continued flooding in flood-prone areas.

With the rainy season now behind us, time is right for government to plan how to prevent perennial floods which displace people and destroy crops unlike waiting until the last minute.

There is need for the country to have a plan on to end or prevent perennial floods because delay to plan would also result in ineffective measures which are hugely costly to the Treasury.

This is particularly so that people in these flood-prone areas need emergency aid whenever struck by floods which include tents for shelter, blankets, food and medicines.

Government should ensure that officers at the provincial and district level, who readily have information on which places are prone to flooding, rely this data at national level so that necessary planning could be implemented to prevent the floods, thereby impacting negatively on food security.

Stakeholders equally had a big duty to ensure that they support government's efforts through research and development as well as support to local communities with livelihood programmes.

The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) and its various partners should continue to ensure that the country has reliable weather forecasting technology to make timely and accurate predictions of flooding.

Furthermore, there is need for the country to invest in building houses that could withstand flooding because this would greatly help the affected families to find a firm building when they go back home.

However, an everlasting solution needs to be found than continual wastage of resources every year.

People that reside in these flood prone areas need a series of sensitisation on the dangers on living in these areas so that if possible they could be relocated to safer places and stop the belief of living on ancestral home.

There is need for more and continuous concerted efforts by global and local partners to ease the immediate challenges that are brought by floods and to some extent, find and implement long term solutions.

Thus, it is important for all stakeholders involved to understand that disasters undermine development achievements, impoverishing people and nations.

Therefore, in the absence of combined efforts to address these root causes, disasters signify an increasingly serious impediment to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's).

More From: Times of Zambia

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