We all hope that this Covid-19 pandemic does not stay long so that we can get back to our normal lives as soon as practicable.
However, drawing from experiences in China, South Korea and lately Italy and Spain, it is appearing that the cycle for breaking the back of the virus may go beyond three months before we gradually begin to bounce back.
Even with that, there is always the fear for a second wave, which we obviously do not wish for. It is therefore not surprising that, the WHO is warning countries to be very cautious in the manner restrictions of the lockdown are removed.
This suggests that Ghana and many African countries may have to prepare for a relatively long haul which might stretch into June/July and possibly beyond. But, given that June/July is the peak of the rainy season, we are also confronted with the possibility of floods, which may exacerbate the emergency situation we are facing currently.
This is why it is important that we all embrace the measures put in by the Government so that we can help break the cycle of the virus early. Within this context, it is regretting reports are emerging from the media suggesting that some people are becoming recalcitrant.
It is important the message gets to all that, we all have to abide by the President’s directives to help defeat the virus early enough before the rains get to its peak. Otherwise, we might be at the verge of plunging the country into the double agony of having to deal with floods and the worst of the Covid-19.
Here, it is relevant to ask whether we are preparing in the event that there is flooding during the lockdown and what that would mean for our disaster management strategies?
Currently, the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) is at the forefront of implementing the distribution of Government’s essential packages in the communities. If the status quo should remain, which I hope not, will there be enough resources and capacity from the NADMO to deal with both flooding and Covid-19 engagements?
We can only hope that their resources are not stretched to the limit, so that they would be available to contain both situations, to the best of their ability.
Admittedly, in the midst of the lockdown, the streets would be free as families would be expected to be at home. In this case, should the streets become flooded, it may pose little danger to lives. However, for families living in flood prone areas the situation might call for support.
What will be the strategy should their communities and homes get flooded? If social distancing is still on by then, what would victims be expected to do? How would victims be rescued if the need be, and what will be the approach? As the President rightly said, we are not in normal times and we may be in for more challenges if we don’t critically consider all options with the heavy rains setting in.
The NADMO may have their own plans in place, however it may also be good if some form of early education and awareness is created for communities to begin to appreciate the situation and also advise on how they may have to behave if we should be confronted with flooding when we are still in Covid-19 control.
It is a difficult situation but may be imminent. At the moment, all our attention is on the Covid-19 and rightly so. However, if we begin to plan ahead for flooding as well, which we all know is perennial, it may save us further trauma and frustrations and also help us manage the situation better.
We are indeed in difficult times and we need everybody on board to appreciate the risk level and also adhere to government directives and safety measures in this challenging and distressing times.
Early education and awareness in my view will do us a lot of good.
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