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Gov’t tasked to better prepare for disasters, in light of Kenya’s devastating floods


Gov’t tasked to better prepare for disasters, in light of Kenya’s devastating floods

Minister for Disaster Preparedness Lilliab Aber

In the wake of the devastating floods that have wrought havoc in neighbouring Kenya, Parliamentarians have expressed concern about the lack of a clear disaster and relief program and a dedicated body especially in view of the changing climate.

The lawmakers cited information recently shared about landslides that occurred in some regions of Western Uganda due to heavy rainfall.

Meteorological reports predict that the heavy rains currently affecting Kenya and Tanzania will likely spread to Uganda.

It is against this background that the speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among urged the Minister responsible for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees to activate early warning systems and efficient response strategies.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi challenged the government on implementing article 249 of the constitution for proper management of disasters.

“Why don’t we have a disaster management commission in place, yet it is a constitutional requirement. It is very important; I am saying bring it because it is legally covered in our constitutional article 249,” said Ssenyonyi.

According to article 249 of the constitution, the government ought to have established a Disaster Management Commission which up to date is not in existence.

Ssenyonyi says that the absence of the Disaster Management Commission hinders the proper preparedness and management of disasters in the country.

He further reminded the government of enacting the disaster Management bill which will also supplement the operationalization of the Disaster Management Commission.

“But if you do not want it in place, explain to us why not, then the law should change because we should not have redundant articles in our constitution, the reason it was provided for is because the makers of the law then, thought it important and it is important, so that we stop having these challenges and get to plan properly. My worry is what is happening in Kenya could very potentially happen here in Uganda,” Ssenyonyi concluded.

In response, the Deputy Attorney General who is also the Minister of state for Justice and constitutional affairs Jackson Kafuuzi committed to Parliament that the matter is going to be raised to cabinet to evaluate the necessity of establishing the Disaster Management Commission.

“You are raising the voices at a times when a number of government agencies are being rationalised, the undertaking I can make is that we shall be raising it to the attention of the powers that be, most important thing is that a study needs to be done on the necessity of this commission,” Kafuuzi said.

When Speaker Among challenged him on his concern about the necessity of the commission as per the intentions of the framers of the constitution.

Kafuuzi said he understands that the framers of the constitution may have deemed it fit to have this commission established then but it has not been in place for the last 29 years, so that is why the law is not cast in stone.

In her maiden submission as the state Minister of Disaster preparedness, Kitgum District Woman MP Lillian Aber informed Parliament that however much willing the Ministry would like to handle all disasters in the country, they are constrained by availability of funds.

She has also revealed that her ministry already has the disaster Management risk plan and soon pledged to follow up on the disaster Management bill.

“We need a budget we cannot do anything as a ministry if we do not have a budget, so far I have requests for members from 30 districts and we can not do much right Hon speaker, I would request this House to support the ministry with the relevant funding then we will be able to respond,” Aber said.

On this note Speaker Among suggested that since Parliament is currently in the process of budget appropriations for 2024/2025, the line minister should work with the Budget Committee to ensure that adequate financial resources are allocated to Disaster response and management.



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