THERE is urgent need for all district disaster management committees to enforce water safety by embarking on disaster risk reduction initiatives in their areas, says Vice President Inonge Wina
Ms Inonge said there should be adequate disaster prevention and mitigation measures in all districts located around water bodies.
She said such efforts should focus on establishing effective responsive systems aimed at mitigating catastrophes due to water accidents.
“May I direct all district management committees around water bodies to ensure that adequate disaster prevention and mitigation measures are put in place.
“These efforts are part of a wider comprehensive disaster risk management programme that aims at preventing or mitigating such disasters,” she said.
The Vice President was speaking at her office when she received a donation of 200 life jackets from a Chinese company Sino Hydro to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit under her office.
Ms Wina said the jackets were a life-saving measure aimed at contributing to the safety of water transport for school children around Kariba Dam.
Last year, about 25 school children from Gwembe district drowned in a boat accident on Lake Kariba on their way a school programme on the other side of the lake.
She said increasing reports of water accidents have demanded for enhanced awareness to make Zambia’s water systems safe and put in place strong measures to handle such future disasters.
“Every year, incidents of water vessels capsizing and people drowning cause significant loss of not only to life but property as well.
“The current national capacity to prevent and respond to water accidents is not optional and much needs to be done,” she said.
She disclosed that Government has made several strides in putting in place policies to improve water safety, but that there was need for strategic alliances of local communities with the business sector.
And Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming explained that both Zambia and China had suffered great tragedies with huge loss of lives in last month’s boat accident on China’s Yangtze River that claimed hundreds of victims.
Mr Yang said the accidents should raise awareness on the improvement of better plans and equipment in preventing similar disasters.
“The tragedies which happened on Lake Kariba and the Yangtze River are indeed sad stories for both our countries. I do wish that we join hands together, make our consented efforts in improving our disaster prevention, management and mitigation abilities so that such tragedies will never happen again,” he said.