Disaster Simulation Exercise for Disaster Response Preparedness
The global increase in intense floods, storms, droughts, and heat waves has a likely and ominous link to climate change (Thomas et.al., 2015). There is growing literature on the evidence linking anthropogenic climate change with natural disasters. Recent disasters have shown that the effectiveness with which a disaster is managed hinges on how much effort has been put in preparedness measures.
Zambia has experienced a number of climatic hazards over the past years. The most serious have been; floods and flush floods, seasonal droughts, extreme temperatures and dry spells. Some of these, especially droughts and floods have increased in frequency, intensity and magnitude over the last two decades and have adversely impacted on food and water security, water quality, health, energy and the sustainable livelihoods of rural communities. Flood hazards/disasters in Zambia have been caused by riverine flooding from heavy or severe rainfall, sometimes associated with hailstorms.
Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) identified disaster preparedness as a priority area for capacity strengthening of its HQ and branches at community level. ZRCS developed a response preparedness program (RPII), in cooperation with the Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC). The flood prone districts (Chavuma, Kabompo and Zambezi) of North Western Province were selected for this intervention based on their exposure to the noted hazards arising from their relative location in the Zambezi River Basin. The districts further fall under Agro-Ecological Region III which experiences high rainfall and are therefore exposed to increased floods, strong winds and as a result, damages to infrastructure and assets such as crops, as well as increased health risks, disruption of education, environmental damage are experienced, as well as displacement of people from their villages.
The disaster preparedness project is geared towards organized effort to overcome the effects of adverse natural phenomena. The project encompasses appropriate measures, to be brought into operation before conditions become a recipe for disaster. These actions are aimed at promoting disaster risk reduction in order to safeguard lives and property in a timely, effective and orderly manner through the following three successive phases: before-disaster phase, during-disaster phase and post-disaster phase. To achieve this, ZRCS coordinates its effort with the government and other stakeholders to ensure maximum impact and limit duplication of resources.
It is on this premise that the flood Contingency Plan was prepared to ensure that communities at risk and other response structures at HQ and branch levels are equipped with ample capacity to respond to possible events emanating from the identified hazards.
The National Society had a simulation exercise in the second week of April 2019 which started Monday 8th to Friday 12th. The Simulation Exercise is a critical component of our response preparedness efforts meant to help gauge the status of our preparedness capacity in lieu of an actual event. The National Societys readiness for disaster response preparedness is a culmination of individual and Departmental input/efforts according to the respective departmental mandates. All departments are required to play their roles in situations of Disaster.The Simulation exercise was facilitated by Reel Ahmed, IFRC Disaster Manager Regional Coordinator, Nairobi.
The DM department convened an Interdepartmental preparatory meeting, which provided a clear insight into the expectations of all the departments.