25 August 2010 A United Nations workshop to “train trainers” on disaster risk reduction kicked off today in Kenya with the hope that participants apply the lessons learned elsewhere in Africa.
The two-day training held by the African regional office of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) in Rift Valley Province drew dozens of participants from several African nations.
Based on the feedback from the pilot training, a toolkit will be created to be used in Kenya and beyond.
“The outcome of this training will create a super-highway for spreading hazard and disaster risk reduction information to local communities, thereby increasing their knowledge base and consequently their resilience to natural disasters,” said Pedro Basabe, who heads the ISDR’s Africa office.
At the request Kenya’s National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, the agency has also developed a factsheet to help emergency responders and others prepare for catastrophes more effectively.
Both the workshop and factsheet are part of efforts to educate trainers at the grassroots level, with communities set to be trained on how to use local means and resources to adapt, mitigate and cope with hazards to prevent them from turning into disasters.
Recent events in Kenya have shown that the country is becoming ever more predisposed to both natural and man-made disasters, such as floods, droughts, landslides, fires and the consequences of climate change.
Such events have threatened efforts to promote sustainable development and curb poverty, and ISDR noted that the greatest obstacle to Kenya’s moves to implement disaster risk reduction programmes is that catastrophes are little understood and have not been given the appropriate attention.
Compared to industrialized nations, developing countries experience greater loss of life and livelihoods when disasters strike because more people have too little knowledge of hazards.
With extreme weather becoming increasingly intense and frequent, the Kenyan Government is recognizing the need to understand and prepare for disasters, ISDR noted.
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