World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Disaster Response Problems for Cash-Strapped African Towns

UN Disaster Response Study Highlights Challenges Faced By Cash-Strapped African Towns

New York, Dec 5 2012 - Lacking both early-warning systems and risk-reduction budgets, medium-sized towns in Africa are poorly equipped to respond to emergencies provoked by natural disasters, rural-urban migration and ecosystem destruction, a United Nations report released today says.

Most local government staffers have no direct access to computers, while information management systems are non-existent, according to the report, titled "Cit y Resilience in Africa: A Ten Essentials Pilot", and published by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The office unveiled the 64-page report in Dakar, Senegal, at the Africities Summit, where almost 5,000 delegates representing African governments and their development partners from around the world are examining the impact of urbanization, among other settlement issues.

"The report finds there is recognition of the value of disaster-risk reduction and the need to build resilience, but the means, knowledge and political commitment to do it are lacking," the Director of UNISDR's "Making Cities Resilient" Campaign, Helen Molina-Valdes, said in her address before the summit.

"Indigenous local knowledge is valuable, but it's not enough on its own, especially given the challenge of climate change across Africa," she added in reference to the way the phenomenon of global warming is said by many scientists to be causing a rising number of extreme weather events.

Ms. Molina-Valdes said the report's findings - while based on assessments of three East African towns - were typical of the challenges faced by mid-sized centres throughout the continent.

The study looked at the Kenyan towns of Narok (pop. 60,000) and Kisumu (pop. 200,000), and the Tanzanian town of Moshi (pop. 150,000). The agency said they were selected because they had signed up to its urban-resilience campaign, which assessed them against the campaign's "Ten Essentials" for achieving resilience.

"These three towns are not unique," Ms. Molina-Valdes said. "Many cities and towns throughout Africa are struggling to meet basic urban infrastructural needs such as clean water, waste management disposal and drainage systems."

She added that disaster risk reduction was "not integrated into urban planning in many local governments."

Of the pilot towns, Narok suffers rampant poverty despite being a tourist town in Kenya's Rift Valley; Kisumu is a major trade hub on the shores of Lake Victoria; and Moshi sits at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro near Tanzania's border with Kenya, where it is susceptible to floods and drought, UNISDR said.

Indeed, floods and drought comprise the most common hazards faced by all three, according to UNISDR.

"The three local governments are not well equipped to respond to disaster events; interventions and support are limited and uncoordinated," it said. "They are limited by funds, capacity, infrastructure and slow administrative links with regional and national authorities."

UNISDR's Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa, Abdou Sane, highlighted at the summit the need to mobilize political leadership.

"This remains a problem," he said. "Strategic planning is rare at the city level, where the most vulnerable people are gathering in informal settlements, and where valuable economic assets are increasingly exposed to disaster risk."

Mr. Sane said the report should be seen as a wake-up call for national governments to focus on how to help urban centres effectively respond to emergencies.

"This report is a very good reminder that, when we meet in these forums, we must focus on action and what works well," he said.

"Local government leaders are on the frontline of building resilience against climate change and extreme weather events, and must be given the resources by national governments to meet the challenges."

The summit, the sixth such event since the first in 1998, opened Tuesday, and will end Saturday.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Japan: Independent Experts Slam Japan’s New Whaling Plan

Independent experts slam Japan’s new whaling plan and declare no more whales need to be killed for Antarctic research More>>

Gaza Strip: Gaza Strip: Attacks In The Border Areas

Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by ... More>>

Australian Government: Iraq Deployment: Joint Press Conference, Canberra

Back in March, the Government announced that we were preparing a force for a Building Partner Capacity training mission in Iraq. I can inform you that today the Cabinet has decided to deploy that force. The deployment will start tomorrow and we expect ... More>>

UNHRC: UN Committee Against Torture To Review New Zealand

UN Committee against torture to review New Zealand, Congo, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Serbia, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia More>>

UNHRC: Nigeria: One Year On, Call To Bring Back Abducted Children

Nigeria: One year on, UN and African experts call for decisive steps to bring back abducted children More>>

EU & US Let Iran Win Top Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board

EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Top Seat on UN Women’s Rights Board, Rights Group Says More>>

Peaceful Tree Planting Attacked By Zionist Settlers/soldiers

Peaceful tree planting attacked by zionist settlers and soldiers, two Palestinians hospitalised and a German activist arrested. More>>

One Year On: WWF Fails To Act Against Abuse Of ‘Pygmies'

Baka 'Pygmies' have faced harassment, beatings and torture by anti-poaching squads supported and funded by WWF. Conservation giant World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has failed to take action against the abuse of Baka “Pygmies” and their neighbors ... More>>

Cyclone Pam Evacuation Centers Home To New-Born

UNFPA Pacific, Port Vila, Vanuatu (March 25, 2015) - As her family settled into one of the classrooms at Freswota Primary School in Cyclone Pam-stricken Port Vila, in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, Meri Yalu was more troubled by an impending ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news