Heed DMMU advice
Published On January 14, 2014 » 2426 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Opinion
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IT is becoming common practice that every rainy season in Zambia comes with it the perennial problem of houses being destroyed and the subsequent result of the human habitats being displaced due to this natural calamity.

It is obvious that there has certainly been some kind of shift and slight adjustment in the current weather pattern which appears to have a negative impact on what used to be previously normal seasons.

From the outset rain patterns that we have been experiencing lately have changed and it is becoming evident that once torrential rains set in then that spells doom on the part of some occupants of houses.

Homesteads, crops and livestock is destroyed in the process, families are displaced forthwith and are in dire need of relocation as well as relief aid.

Those who are badly affected are the ones who have built their houses in lower lands or used substandard material to erect their so called houses for purposes of having shelter.

The muddy houses are not strong enough to withstand the pressure that comes along with the force of the heavy rains that are often characterised by strong winds and so most times these feeble structures crumble.

It is these same human habitats who are then forced to vacate their areas or forced to relocate to some higher, safer and convenient land. Once there is such an activity in motion then the onus really falls on the Disaster Management Mitigation Unit (DMMU ) under the vice-president’s office to provide the necessary resources in the form of relief food, drugs, clean drinking water and alternative means of sheltering such affected families of course at a huge cost.

One such recent incident is that of the houses in Mazabuka that were destroyed over the weekend due to heavy rains leaving 20,000 people in Kalama ward homeless and in need of relief aid.

This development was confirmed by Mazabuka District commissioner Eugene Munyama.

The DMMU committee then mobilised itself and was making frantic efforts to address the problem by supplying tents and other necessities to the affected families, of course, as an interim measure.

The final result is that the effected families will have lost both their homes along with their properties and at some point will need to rebuild their lives. The damage done to both the houses and property in Mazabuka was yet to be establishment as an assessment report and the needs of the people were yet to be done.

This exercise had not been carried out simply because the roads leading to the area were rendered impassable as a result of the heavy downpour.

Mr Munyama disclosed that the collapsed houses were in Manyaana area and that the rain had continued to pour in the past weeks and that had worsened the situation.

He further said the houses in question were made out of mud and so were, therefore, easily destroyed by the heavy rains.

Much as we commensurate with the plight of those whose houses have collapsed due to the heavy downpour and the loss incurred therein, it is also advisable that people should be educated on the effects of climate change whose consequences are similar to what occurred in Mazabuka.

People have many times been advised to build strong houses and avoid using sub-standard building material if they were to escape calamities such as the one we are eluding to here.

But it appears both the warning and advice from experts has fallen on deaf ears.

Most people insist on building muddy and weak structures regardless of the changing trends in the weather patterns much to their detriment. Mid last year the DMMU’s office had observed that it was unfortunate that the country had continued to experience the same challenges annually – disasters of such magnitude.

The advice from this office was that there should be a continuous inspection of disaster prone areas and not to wait until disasters strike for officers to move on site.

We believe that if this was done it could go a long way in ensuring that people living in such areas are relocated to higher grounds way before the onset of the rains to reduce the huge costs involved in the relocation exercise as well as provision of relief aid whenever their houses collapsed. Those who are in disaster prone areas should heed the DMMU’s warning and calls for them to move away from such areas to avoid being caught up in calamities. OPINION


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