Disasters are bound to come anytime and anywhere. Climate change has led to so many of these that are reported all over the world and particularly in the US. The summers are experiencing extreme heat than usual and this has triggered wildfires in Colorado and other states in America. The year 2012 alone saw the American heartland suffer the worst drought in 50 years leading to a loss of crops and increase of food prices. Other parts of the world have experienced the effects of climate change engendering famine and destroying livelihoods. Reports from the Intergovernmental panel on climate change, extreme weather could worsen in the coming few years and this could lead to a food crisis, thus rendering many at risk of starvation.
Disasters are inevitable and can only be anticipated; here are several tips on how to minimize the damage from the natural disasters.
Early famine warning systems
It is true that there are sophisticated warning systems that can help in predicting a famine almost a year ahead of time. But these would help if action were taken in advance. For instance, Oxfam and Save the children did a joint report regarding famine in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia which revealed that early action by the concerned parties would have prevented over a hundred thousand deaths of whom over fifty percent were children below the age of five years. Early interventions will not only save lives but also would be more cost-effective. A study in northern Kenya found that it was three times more expensive to restock livestock than to keep them through supplementary feeding.
Having hunger-products to address malnutrition
The most prevalent health condition whenever famine strikes is malnutrition. Therefore having in place products that would help as supplements during this period prior, would help reduce the detrimental effects. World aid organizations have at their disposal tools that would help curb this. Plumpy nut, for example, a peanut that contains vegetable oil, vitamins among other supplements at a considerably low cost compared to fortified milk formulas. It is now regarded as the ‘miracle product’ which has streamlined many organizations’ aid operations. Case in point; it took more than 2000 doctors to treat 10,000 children suffering from malnutrition in Angola, compared to 150 staff who attended to the same number of patients in Niger thanks to the Plumpy’ nut.
Giving cash-aid to the poor
About ten years ago, giving money to the poor as an emergency response for the individuals affected by natural disasters was not widely accepted. Cash and cash-for-work initiatives have been used to help vulnerable families get back on feet and support their local economy. Provision of resources to families allows them to prioritize their needs and therefore giving them the power to plan their lives.
Use of mobile technology to inform and empower citizens
With over 79 percent mobile phone penetration in the developing world, households now have access to information on an impending weather pattern and how to respond to such. For instance, ‘Blue line’ is a mobile technology service used in Egypt that helps disseminate information about the availability of water so that villagers are made aware of when and where to access water for themselves and crops.
With climate change, famine, droughts, wildfires, and other disasters are bound to come. Thus, the most important thing is to have in place prevention mechanisms, which would keep of human tragedies. It is more expensive to prevent than to cure the effects of such tragedies.