Points 5 and 6
This is the 4th article under our #IStandWithHaiti series. To be able to follow our discussion, it is important that you read the preceding article.
Do your laws establish clear procedures and responsibilities for risk assessments and ensure risk information is considered in development processes?
It is not enough to prepare for disasters as and when they come.
The relevant ministry must engage with relevant persons/bodies to fully understand the current risks, the historical risks and the projected risks. An understanding of where a country or risk prone area is coming from can give a clearer insight into where the risk prone area is going.
Local people should be involved in the formulation of measures to lessen the risk impact.
Risk information should also be shared by everyone who may be affected.
According to the ICRC, when formulating legislation under this checklist point, the following should be the guiding questions:
- Do your laws require the undertaking of regular hazard and vulnerability mapping and risk assessments, including both disaster and climate risks, and clearly assign these tasks to appropriate authorities?
- Do your laws or policies provide for at-risk communities to be involved in the risk assessment process?
- Do your laws require risk information to be considered in development planning and construction?
Do your laws establish clear procedures and responsibilities for early warning?
Whereas early warning is paramount in curbing the effects of natural hazards, the law should put in place clear procedures for early warning and also prescribe responsibilities for different people/bodies regarding early warning.
For example, the role of the ministry should be clear cut. It should mostly revolve around setting up early warning systems and disseminating information on how to reduce the impact of the risk. For the ministry and government bodies, sanctions for not adhering to the early warning systems, procedures and responsibilities should also be prescribed by the law. This will ensure accountability and good faith in the execution of those responsibilities. Local people in the area likely to be affected should also be involved and given responsibilities. The media’s responsibility should also be spelt out.
According to ICRC, still, the guiding questions when dealing with this checklist point should be:
- Do your laws clearly assign responsibilities for all steps of the early warning process from assessing the hazard to making decisions to issue warnings?
- Do your laws address the roles of technical ministries as well as communities, local authorities, scientific institutions, private media companies and civil society organizations in early warning systems?
- Do your laws require EWS for the most frequent and serious hazards?
Look out for points 7 and 8 in our next article under this series.
BY SAMALI BITALA