The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has advised all agencies, institutions, as well as local and international civil society organizations to prioritize the adoption of comprehensive Contingency Plans. 

The development comes in light of the escalating threat of disasters across various regions in Uganda,

RoseNakabugoBwenvuAssistantCommissioner Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management, says that having in place detailed strategy and plans is deemed essential for not only enhancing disaster preparedness but also ensuring swift and effective responses in times of crisis.

“As disasters continue to manifest in alarming ways throughout Uganda, it has become imperative for all stakeholders involved in disaster management to be adequately equipped and prepared. The OPM emphasizes the significance of proactive measures, highlighting the critical role that Contingency Plans play in mitigating the adverse impacts of disasters,” noted Nakabugo. 

Nakabugo made the remarks during the launch of Compassion International Uganda’s disaster preparedness, prevention, and response strategy in Kampala. The launch followed comprehensive training sessions conducted for all organizational staff in disaster preparedness. 

The commissioner added that with the prevalence of disasters increasing in frequency and severity, the OPM underscores the importance of avoiding reactionary approaches in favor of strategic planning.

“Rushing into disaster response efforts without proper preparation can lead to inefficiencies and exacerbate the challenges faced by affected communities,” she stressed. She added that the absence of plans results in poor response, subpar outcomes, and disjointed efforts, ultimately hindering the effectiveness of disaster management initiatives. 

Emmanuel Ahimbisibwe, the National Director of Compassion International Uganda, acknowledged that prior to the development of the strategy, Compassion Uganda often found themselves in uncertain situations when engaging in supporting disaster programs within communities.

Ahimbisibwe added that often their responses were based on improvisation or what could be likened to gambling, which occasionally resulted in mistakes during the process. 

Ahimbisibwe emphasized that despite Compassion International not being a designated disaster relief organization, they often find themselves in situations where the churches and children they support are vulnerable during times of crisis and disaster, compelling the organization to provide assistance. 

He expressed that with a strategic approach and a dedicated team in place, their response to disaster preparedness, prevention, and recovery will significantly improve.

Meanwhile, Nakabugo highlighted the importance of aligning internal plans of organizations with the National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management. 

She emphasized the necessity for organizations to actively participate in district disaster preparedness task forces in areas where they operate to ensure coordination with other stakeholders in the sector, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of disaster preparedness and response efforts. 

Experts warn of rising disaster loss and damage in Uganda, impacting survival, dignity, and livelihoods, especially among the poor. Natural disasters are increasing both in frequency and intensity. Over the past century, disasters, including floods, epidemics, droughts, and landslides, have claimed over 200,000 lives. 

Recent data indicates droughts have affected nearly 2.4 million people between 2004 and 2013, with significant economic costs. In 2020, drought-related damage amounted to 2.8 trillion shillings, while floods, affecting 80% of districts, incur an annual cost of approximately US$ 62 million and directly affect 50,000 individuals. 

The 2020 State of Disaster Report highlights widespread impacts across eight regions and 51 districts, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive disaster management strategies from all stakeholders.

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