Zambia needs to prepare for climatic change disaster

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REPORTS that a tropical cyclone, IDAI, is brewing in Mozambique, and that it is expected to hit our neighbour Zimbabwe over the weekend, with strong winds and a trail of destruction in Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces, should be of great concern to the country.
The warning from the Meteorological Service Department should be taken seriously. Zimbabwe is not far from Zambia and what affects that country, could have a direct or indirect impact on this country.
The movement of the same tropical cyclone, IDAI, towards Malawi, which had by Wednesday March 13, caused widespread rains and floods in the southern parts of that country, killing 45 people and displacing approximately 739,000 households in 14 districts, should be of great concern to Zambia.
This news should in fact also act as a wake-up call to Zambia about the urgent need to take seriously issues of climate change. It’s probably about time we stopped taking business as usual and started putting into place measures to deal with any eventualities.
Zambia has of course never experiences a tropical cyclone before and infact the last time, we, as region got to learn about it, was when it first hit nearby Mozambique some years back with strong winds and high floods, destroying everything along its trail including human beings.
But of course, Zambia may not feel the impact that much because it was not happening here. Zambians only watched the devastation in Mozambique on television, discussed it and eventually forgot all about it because it happened next door. Everything seemed like a fairytale then.
We did not learn much from the event, as a nation, and never did we put in place any precautionary measures because we comforted ourselves that we are a landlocked country after all – very far from the ocean.
But it’s all happening now and this time even much more closely to us, in our neighbours, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Our wish, is of course, not that the tropical cyclone should also hit Zambia, but to simply remind ourselves, as a nation, that it’s probably about time we put in place measures on how to deal with such a devastating climatic change influenced disaster.
We also are well aware that climatic change disasters, of such magnitude, are difficult to avoid or even contain. They are so devastating, to an extent that they can completely wipe out a town as big as Lusaka.
However, we can still do something to ensure that we are able to detect them early, while they are still miles away, and warn our people in time to evacuate, for instance.
Some of our neighbouring countries have already taken serious measures for early detection and warning which enable them to constantly keep the public alert about serious weather changes like what is happening in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The news about the tropical cyclone IDAI hitting parts of Malawi, and impending disasters in Zimbabwe by the same, should act as a wake-up call to us too. Our own Metrological Department should immediately start taking measures to ensure early detection and warning about such climatic change disasters. Climate change induced disasters are unpredictable

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