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Enhance focus on disaster preparedness



Enhance focus on disaster preparedness

More than 11,000 people died and thousands more were injured on Monday across Turkey and Syria after an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit the two countries. Rescue efforts are ongoing.

Suppose the earthquake occurred in a Kenyan city. Do we have the capacity to handle it?

Countries like Japan are geographically doomed. They act as the earthly home for natural calamities, especially earthquakes. Ironically, that has worked to their advantage: The country’s architecture and civil engineering are very advanced. Some buildings are as flexible as trees; they can be swivelled by the wind. That makes them adjust to tremors, hence their capacity to withstand earthquakes.

Early warning systems (EWS) detect earthquakes before they occur; so, do we shift houses as a mitigative measure? Of course not; all that can be done include evacuation, response teams to be on alert and medical centres to prepare for a ballooned intake.

The government should improve on building codes. New buildings should be designed to withstand earthquakes of medium magnitude. Shamefully, in this day and age, some of our skyscrapers cannot arrest lightning.

Only focus on fire

Most county governments are working on improving their disaster management departments but they only focus on fire rescue.

There is a need for them to have a range of experts who can handle other emergencies, such as water rescue, road accidents and collapsed buildings.

EWSs should be mandatory for county governments. Effects of disasters like earthquakes, floods and drought can be minimised. We are prone to many more disasters; so, it is very important that we focus on all and become proactive rather than reactive.

We should have standardised mitigation and preparedness measures implemented. Then, we can reduce the effect of disasters when they strike.

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