Kenya says COVID-19 outbreak disrupts progress in managing disasters

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NAIROBI, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenya said on Tuesday that the outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted all progress towards strengthening the management of disasters for enhanced community resilience.

Charles Owino, director of National Disaster Operation Center in the Ministry of Interior, said that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected most socio-economic sectors in disaster management in the country.

"The pandemic has rendered the government's efforts in meeting goals towards the management of disaster risk to almost zero since resources that were earmarked for meeting the risks have been diverted to attend to its management," Owino said in Nairobi during a virtual webinar on national disasters in the country.

Owino noted that new and ongoing programs in the management of flood, drought and landslides have to be delayed due to financial implications.

He observed that water and sanitation under Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) has been heavily affected in the country as the infrastructure that had been put in place were destroyed during the peak of the pandemic.

"The destruction of infrastructure is huge and a threat to meeting the SDGs in the country," the official said.

Owino noted that water in open places and pans in the Rift Valley region in southwestern Kenya were destroyed by the tectonic movements and little has been done due to lack of financing.

He said that to overcome the shocks, Kenya is accelerating the implementation of Sendai framework, a UN disaster risk reduction plan that was developed to guide efforts on disaster risk reduction between the year 2015-2030.

The official said that Kenya is applying a multi-sectoral and integrated approach into finance, planning and implementation across sectors.

Sharon Dimanche, Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration Kenya said Kenya's frequencies of disaster threats tripled in 2020 hence calling for a holistic risk disaster governance.

Dimanche noted that the threats namely floods, desert locusts and COVID-19 pandemic have caused massive damage in the country.

"COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, renewed the crisis that is a wakeup call in readiness for other outbreaks," she added.

The official called for increased efforts towards the mitigation of climate change and environmental degradation in the country. Enditem

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