Stakeholders in Disaster Risk Management are holding a two day international symposium in Kakamega town aimed at mitigating disasters.
The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR 2022), being held at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) seeks to create awareness on early warnings and disaster preparedness in the Western region.
Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa, while opening the symposium, whose theme is ‘Early warning, Early Actions for all’ said the symposium is vital in enhancing the capacity of Kenyans to respond early in the event of disaster.
The Governor observed that Kakamega County has experienced a fair share of natural disasters such as lightning strikes and that it was important to enlighten the residents on early warning systems to avert destruction.
“It’s important to enlighten residents of Kakamega and Kenyans at large on early warning and early action to beat various risks like fire, accidents and lightning,” he said.
Barasa was accompanied by various partners taking part in the symposium like St Johns Ambulance, World Vision, Johan niter, Kenya Red Cross, United Nations Women, United Nation Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, German Corporation and The Green Jewel.
Other partners are International Organization for Migration, (IOM) Development Fund, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Disaster Operations Centre [NDOC] and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology [MMUST].
The Governor said the County Government was also partnering with MMUST and the Bukura Agricultural Training College so as to obtain more research on various food crops to be planted to increase food security.
Barasa also said there was an invasion of army worms in the northern part of the county but said the matter was being addressed, pointing out that his government was allocating more resources on matters agriculture.
The Deputy Secretary General of Kenya Red Cross Annette Musabeni pointed out that they are mandated to compliment government efforts in disaster and risk management across the country.
“Our particular interest is strengthening early warning and early action through training, provision of tools and implements that allow the society to practice better farming and being able to face the emerging climatic challenges,” said Annette.
“We also work closely with the county Governments to support the strengthening and implementations of policies to ensure the devolved units are better positioned to serve people through the Emergency Operations Centre.
MMUST’s Vice Chancellor Prof Solomon Shibairo noted that the institution has a flagship program in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance in which they have been doing capacity building and has zeroed a lot in climate change.
Prof Shibairo said the University was also researching on improving the breeds in animal husbandry and dairy production and seedlings for sugar production through grafting.
“These seedlings are disease free and therefore we shall minimize diseases on sugarcane and improve on the county’s economy,” noted Shibairo.
Governor Barasa said efforts were being made to conserve Malava, a tropical rainforest, which sits on a 108 km piece of land by fencing and practicing reforestation.
The IDDRR will run for two days.
By Anne Otieno and Rose Adelaide