The statement by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) that it is ready to respond to any emergency situation that may arise as the rainy season approaches, makes interesting reading.
It says it has formed syndicates in some identified flood-prone areas with 24-hour stand-by teams to offer assistance should a flood situation occur.
According to Mrs Sarah Aniku, the Director of Hydro Metrological Disasters, the organisation has also made provision for some pumping machines, speed boats, vans, etc to enable its personnel to move quickly to handle rescue operations when the rains set in.
This assurance sounds very pleasing and the organisation should, under normal circumstances, win high commendation for its readiness to tackle disasters.
The Times, however, believes that the NADMO is losing sight of one very important responsibility, which is how to prevent the disasters from occurring.
As the old adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ and the Times insists that it should be the nation’s guiding principle.
Which is better… to take measures to forestall disasters, or to wait for them to happen with the attendant loss of lives and destruction of property for NADMO to deploy its speed boats, vans and standby teams for rescue operations.
Although it is acknowledged that disasters will happen when they will, if any lesson has been derived from the past, it is that most of the disasters this nation had experienced were preventable.
Most of the flood situations the nation has encountered were due to the uncontrolled building of structures in waterways and other unauthorised places, and the dumping of refuse in rivers and streams, especially in the Odaw River, and other drainage systems, thereby preventing the free flow of the flood waters.
Thus, the NADMO should have by now, deployed its personnel to the areas known to be flood-prone to tackle the situations that could lead to flooding. This should be its priority, instead of keeping the teams on standby waiting for the disasters to occur before springing into action.
It has the legal authority to pull down unauthorised structures in water ways, and to get the rivers and drains desilted, and we expect it to discharge its responsibility.
It should, together with all relevant agencies, including the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, act now to save the nation from the preventable disasters.
For, as it is said, a stitch in time saves nine!