Equip counties to address calamities, Senator Kihika tells State

Equip counties to address calamities, Senator Kihika tells State

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika has called on the government to operationalize the National Disaster Policy to pave way for rapid and appropriate responses by county governments and other state agencies in case of calamities.

Addressing a press conference in her office on Tuesday, a week after Solai Dam tragedy, Kihika regretted that while Red Cross society and National Disaster Management Authority has swift and prompt responses in the event of reported disaster, county governments remain ill-equipped to address any emergency or calamity.

“The senate has debated the National Disaster Policy and approved the same. Question is has it been operationalized,” Senator Kihika asked.

“The senate and indeed every Kenyan need to ask if, in this country , whenever a disaster is occurs, is the speed of responses by the national and the county governments appropriate?,” she added.

The vibrant lawmaker said there was an urgent need to prove the country’s response to disasters to some expected standards, in terms of personnel and equipment to enable it address disaster administration.

Last week, one of the seven Solai dams in Patel Coffee Estates Ltd, owned by Solai group of companies burst it walls causing the death of at least 47 people and displacing hundreds of persons.

Under the proposed National Disaster management policy, county governments are expected to establish County Disaster management committees and further, set aside certain percentage of their allocated revenues to a disaster fund which would support, rescue, recovery and mitigation activities.

Ms Kihika, who is also the senate Majority Whip, said time had for the devolved units to take the disaster management seriously and equip themselves with adequate personnel and disaster devices.

She reiterated counties that are prone to floods, landslides, forest, fires, industrial accidents, road accidents and even oil spillage of petroleum need to be equipped and prepared for such eventualities.

“Continuous capacity building of personnel and members of the public, with inspections of various potential disasters areas by county Disaster Committee need to be regular,” the senator proposed,

“Only by being alert, responsible and prepared will the country lessen the impacts of the disasters to our people,” she added.

Earlier, Members of the Committee on National Security of the senate called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the owner of the killer dam.

Although, Mansukhlal Patel, proprietor of the dam had offered public for causing the deaths of 47 people after its walls collapsed, the committee pressed for him to be arraigned in court and compelled to compensate all the victims as the disaster that authorities say largely a consequence of his negligence.

In a paid up advert in the local dailies on Tuesday, Mansukhlal Patel, who is the chairman of Solai Group, offered condolences to the victims saying they were investigating the deadly disaster.

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