Uganda Red Cross Society has launched a Disaster Risk Reduction programme in Wera and Kapujan sub counties in Amuria and Katakwi districts respectively.
The Disaster Risk Reduction programme is aimed at reducing the risk of disasters by sensitizing communities about the possible dangers, supporting them to form disaster risk reduction groups and helping them to undertake vulnerability and capacity assessments in order to develop community action plans.
The action plans will outline community based disaster risk reduction activities, including community education and training, setting up of early warning systems and implementation of micro-mitigation activities. The micro-mitigation projects will depend on the needs identified by the communities but could also include reforestation activities, drainage improvement and support for flood resistant housing.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Wera Sub County last week, URCS Vice Chairman Central Governing Board, also head of the Disaster Management subcommittee Robert Ssebunya said URCS will focus on scaling up actions which build capacity and take into consideration priorities of the targeted vulnerable communities with regard to health promotion, disease prevention, food security and other general disaster risk reduction activities.
“Teso sub region has specifically faced humanitarian challenges mainly attributed to the current climate change trends. URCS is therefore proud to be working with the American Red Cross to build a culture of safety and resilience towards disaster reduction and climate change adaption within the targeted high risk communities in Teso,” he said.
Mr. Ssebunya urged local governments to be prepared to respond to disasters by allocating sub county emergency evacuation centres. He also called for the speedy approval of the disaster management policy saying it will be key in guiding humanitarian actors in disaster management.
The URCS Deputy Secretary General, also Head Programmes, Dr. Bildard Baguma, said the National Society will work with communities to identify risks and to decide the course of action.
A total of 126 volunteers in Wera and Kapujan sub counties were given bicycles to undertake disaster risk reduction sensitization and assessment activities.
The Ugandan Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr. Musa Ecweru, said he was humbled by the URCS decision to start the disaster risk reduction programme in Wera and Kapujan sub counties and the other National Society interventions in various communities. “Ministers take credit for whatever achievement, but it is important to recognize the partnership that make us score, Red Cross inclusive,” he said. He said many hazards can be neutralized if the population is resilient.
Mr. Ecweru cautioned volunteers against taking bicycles to beer parties. He said many companies had donated tree seedlings and promised to work with URCS to undertake an aforestation programme in the country. “We need to repair the planet that has been damaged so as to live a better country for our children,” he said.
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