Columbus Mabika–Herald Reporter
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) will continue to train its human resource meet for disaster response to meet the needs as dictated by the geography and climate change in various parts of the country.
In addition, there is need to create a robust disaster management and response system comprising different expertise for both proactive and reactive measures to deal with potential threats of natural disasters.
Because of climate change, tropical cyclones and other related disasters are poised to become more frequent, and accompanied by increasing intensity. While delivering a presentation titled, “Mobilisation and Employment of ZDF in National Security Crisis Management”, National Defence Course at the Zimbabwe National Defence University on Wednesday, Commander ZDF, General Philip Valerio Sibanda said drawing lessons from Cyclone Idai, it was important to find ways to limit the negative impacts of natural disasters.
“There was urgent need to ensure that military training for disaster response action is structured to meet the needs as dictated by the geography in various parts of the country. From the statistics provided, you will agree with me that the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai was beyond every Zimbabweans wildest imagination. Basing on the intensity these experiences recently, we must expect more weather related disasters like Cyclone Idai and possibly even worse. Although the nature of calamities will never be the same like one before them, we however still require to draw lessons from the past natural calamities so that we can enhance our preparedness’ to deal with similar disasters in the future, our response to the after effects.
“This means going forward, we must have a robust Civil Protection Unit response system that has the right composition of different expertise so that holistic disaster preparedness for both proactive and reactive measures is timely activated to deal with potential threats of a specific disaster.”
Gen Sibanda said Cyclone Idai had taught the nation to develop position capabilities that can facilitate rapid reaction for impact assessment so that national leadership is fed with accurate information on the state of affairs in the affected areas in order to develop and deploy practical mitigatory efforts.
He said communication was the cornerstone of a good disaster relief management effort to link the affected and those planning relief efforts to enable adjustment of plans when a disaster strikes.
For easy coordination during disasters, Gen Sibanda said the ZDF had recommended to Government the adoption of structures configured a lead organisation as determined by the nature and magnitude of a disasters to enable quick response.
Gen Sibanda said communities need continuous training and education so that they become creative and innovative when a disasters occur.
“The training and education for disaster response must focus on educating individuals and communities to face the unknown and to be creative in the midst of confusion. Training people through practicing live action drills and applying lessons from the experiences in the next round of preparations is key towards developing adaptability and resilience in dealing with cyclones and other natural disasters,” he said.
ZDF was the only organisation to deploy into affected areas in the initial stages of Cyclone Idai to map out the extent of human loss, infrastructure damage and livelihood disruptions.
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ZDF to train personnel on disaster response