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Counter firefighting

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It seems to have become a pattern in the past few years that rains mean havoc and chaos. 2017 has not spared the country in this particular pattern. Last week rains came almost on daily basis lasting through the night especially in the capital city. It would be painfully humid throughput the day and start raining from the time most people are leaving their offices, through the night to the time people are heading to work in the morning.

The rains have been relentless and fierce. Though it was horrific to witness, it was of no shock that on Friday morning the Capital City woke up to residents in distress and utter panic. Just in my own residential area, I saw fallen fences, wrangled gates and guttered roads immediately I exited the gate. Before long I found out that the transport to pick me to work had been delayed by a blockage caused by water overflowing over one of the most used routes in the city. This was just the beginning of a day that would be filled with devastating news of damage caused by the rains. What is worse is such devastating damage happening in urban areas where the assumption is that infrastructure is meant to be modern and reinforced.

On the way to work, the traffic was a nightmare and most of the usual routes were rendered impassable. It took an hour longer to get to the office. We watched in total shock as we passed area 49 and found part of the area totally immersed in a raging river of rainwater. We had deviated from the usual route which connects from Gulliver to area 18 round about and this road too had overflowing water along it.

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People’s crops and households had been washed away and destroyed. Some children were stuck in the water, desperately clinging to shrubs as they held on to the hope of being rescued. Luckily enough, helicopters came to the rescue and the hope is all survived and there were no casualties. MDF soldiers rescued several stranded children on Friday morning. A couple was also rescued from rooftop of their own house which was submerged in water. Two people drowned as the attempted to rescue school going children. It was a bad day, by all means.

However, the rescuers should be commended for the swift service to the nation.

But would we really say the rains in the country are THAT bad?

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As much as the rains and their pattern have been greatly affected by global warming, much of the damage experienced by the country is self-imposed and therefore avoidable. Of course, nature can be a beast that humans cannot always tame, but there are definitely some other ways that the damage done can be minimized by addressing the actual problems instead of waiting to firefight.

Pertinent Problems

Drainage system

Our drainage system little to be desired. This is made worse by cities having places where people build illegally without direction and planning from the city council. Houses are built in dangerous places and at the end of the day the inhabitants suffer when disaster strikes.

Disaster prone areas

Some of the places that get flooded have been flooded year in and year out but people still go back to live there or grow their crops there. This flirty attitude towards disasters is catastrophic and most of the times the cons outweigh the pros.

Half-done jobs

Mediocrity plays a big role in some of the disasters we experience. We have a tendency of getting comfortable with half-baked work and this trickles down to the building of houses and road networks. When disaster strikes, the evidence of this half-baked work usually becomes too vivid and this is worrisome.

Corruption

You would think giving someone a job would mean they appreciate the gesture and finish the job with all protocols followed. Unfortunately this is not the case; people steal from the very hand that feeds them. People steal resources from projects have been contracted to do. Builders give home owners blown up figures of materials needed and buy cement and sell half of it while they stuff concrete structures with sand. But, at the end of the day they still demand full pay yet quality of work has been compromised because of greed.

The responsibility is with us to limit damage done by natural disasters by addressing pertinent issues that count. We need to move from firefighting to actually addressing the roots of the problems that affect us otherwise at the end of the day it becomes more costly to the country to constantly deal with problems that can be avoided.

I rest my case

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