IGAD trains member states journalists on disaster reporting

Participants from the member states posing for a group photo on Monday 25th June:

By Morris Dogga in Mombasa

The IGAD Climatic Prediction Center held four-day regional training workshop for media practitioners from the member states to enhance their role in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adoption (CCA).

The training, which was held in Mombasa, drew Media practitioners from the seven member states to discuss the role of media in enhancing disaster risk management and climate change adoption in the various countries. The journalists were drawn from Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The participants deliberated on how to effectively communicate disaster related issues to the communities they work in. They also discussed the avenues through which the media could cooperate with the stakeholders to smoothly enhance public awareness.

One of the major issues raised in the meeting derailing the effectiveness of the policy was the communication gap between the media houses and the stakeholders in terms of relaying disaster related information to the public according to the IGAD Climatic Prediction Center disaster risk management unit.

“The media plays a major role in disaster risk management,” said Ahmed Amdihum IGAD legal consultant adding that the media should not only react on reporting the disasters happening but also consider educating the masses.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region occupies an area about 5.4 million square kilometers with 70 percent of the land being arid and semi-arid making it prone to disasters and yet there are no proper communications Mechanisms to carry out awareness on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adoption (CCA).

The strategy on DRM and CCA adopted by the IGAD Countries was aimed at reducing the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes floods, droughts, and cyclones through an ethnic prevention.

The strategy now aligned to Sendai Framework integrates DRM and CCA measures and strengthens institutional capacities, mainstreams Post Disaster Needs and Recovery Needs Assessment.

Climate Change will add new threats to sustainable development efforts of all member states, and will intensify climate related disasters.

IGAD member states have, in their limited capacities followed separate strategies to respond to these disasters. Despite such progress there still remain many gaps and challenges that impede the effectiveness of the strategy.

According to IGAD most of the disasters were caused by metrological problems.  The massive displacement of people within the region especially from South Sudan could contribute greatly to disaster risks.

The IGAD region has a population of over 250 million people. But people could be more vulnerable to disasters and climatic changes if there were no proper awareness carried out.

The region has experienced major disasters as a result of the natural hazards and manmade errors.

Last month more than 11,000 households were affected by flooding in Jonglei State region of South Sudan. The region is prone to disasters. Since South Sudan got her independence in 2011, the region has been experiencing floods on annual basis but the stakeholders have not have not taken early warning measures. The people in the region were normally affected because they were not aware of the disasters.

In Kenya about 47 people died when the Solai dam bust in Nakuru County this year.

But the tragedy could have been averted if there if there were early warning systems.

The training was supported by the World Bank Group, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the European Union.

The project was to build resilience to disaster through risk management and climate change adoption in the IGAD region.

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