Floods, lengthy dry spells, sickness and violence are projected to worsen as a result of climate change in East Africa. Following warnings that it might reach disastrous levels by 2022, there has been a shift in strategy in Uganda. This shift stretches from preparedness to response with a particular focus on precise data to drive decision-making.
East African countries are ranked at the highest risk of “humanitarian crises that are more likely to require international assistance”, according to the INFORM Risk Index 2022. This index identifies countries at risk of humanitarian crises and natural disasters that could overwhelm national response capacity.
Somalia is the most populous of the 190 nations studied, with South Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Chad rounding out the top five. The Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked seventh, Ethiopia is ranked 12th, and Sudan is ranked 15th. Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, respectively, are rated 21, 22, 27, 37 and 61.
The study was the topic of the National Preparedness Dialogue, which was recently held in Munyonyo by Uganda’s ministry of disaster preparedness, relief and refugees. FAO, the World Food Programme, the World Bank, the European Union, USAID and the International Committee of the Red Cross were among the officials from the ministry and civil society organisations that participated.
New strategy almost completed
As Uganda braces for yet another year of volatility, the goal was to review the roadmap, which included a disaster risk management strategy for readiness.
“We used to have bi-annual natural disasters but the impact of climate change has put many communities at risk of annual disasters,” Esther Anyakun, Uganda’s minister of state for disaster preparedness, relief and refugees, said, as reported by The East African.
A new disaster risk management strategy is nearing completion, and it will be presented to Parliament in December.
Antonio Querido, the FAO representative in Uganda, said, “While Uganda was spared the full impact of the devastation in the Horn of Africa, this experience highlighted the vulnerability to hazards that threaten the food security and livelihoods and the need to increase national preparedness. The nature of hazards is changing and our approach ought to evolve as well.”
Uganda has faced the Covid-19 virus, unusual floods, extended droughts, desert locust invasions and terrorist assaults in the last two years.
Uganda has been responding to calamities far too late in the past few years, often ineptly. The locust invasion harmed the food security and livelihoods of 749 515 families in the Acholi, Elgon, Karamoja, Lango and Teso sub-regions in 2020, according to the Desert Locust Livelihoods Impact Assessment Report.
“We have not had a coordinated approach to disaster management. Now the government is working with various NGOs to come up with a holistic approach for when disasters happen,” Anyakun said.