Uganda’s army now better prepared to respond to disasters following UNDP’s support

Dec 4, 2015

Ms. Almaz Gebru, UNDP’s Country Director and Resident Representative a.i. in Uganda, congratulates an officer of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force for completing the UNDP-supported civil-military training for first responders (UNDP Photo)

KAMPALA – As the rainy season sets in across Uganda, the Uganda Peoples Defence Force is now better prepared to work with civil authorities in responding to disasters.

With UNDP’s support, over 500 female and male officers were trained on the fundamentals of disaster risk reduction, civil-military cooperation, the management of mass casualties, incident command systems, search and rescue, human rights in disasters and the practical applications of ICTs.

Speaking at the pass out parade of the last 200 officers to complete the intensive programme, the Commandant of the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College, representing the Chief of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Gutti said “building the capacity of the UPDF is an investment in the future of all Ugandans”.

UNDP has a longstanding partnership with Uganda’s institutions to strengthen the capacity and supporting the leadership to reduce, manage and respond to disaster risk.

UNDP’s recent investments include the establishment and ongoing operations of the National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC) and support to all 112 District Disaster Management Committees to meet their obligations under the National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Response.

Addressing the final intake for 2015, Ms. Almaz Gebru, UNDP’s Resident Representative a.i in Uganda, said “being prepared, and understanding one’s roles and responsibilities, can be the difference between life and death”.

“Today, as Uganda experiences El Nino-fuelled rains across the country, it is better prepared and ready, should the worse happen”, Ms. Gebru said.

Now trained and equipped, the officers have been deployed to high-risk areas for landslides and floods across the country, ready to provide on-the-ground support to local administrations and communities.

“The efficiency of these operations however, depend, to a large extent, on how well capabilities are used within the larger operation and how the relief operation is coordinated by other, civilian, actors,” Ms Gebru emphasised.

Reflecting on the programme a participant, Captain Dr. Muyimbo Timothy, welcomed the specialised training. “While the training has ended, the curriculum will be retained with UPDF and will be utilized for future batches of officers coming through”, he said.

Uganda is no stranger the impact of El Nino. During last major El Niño episode in 2010, over 700,000 people were affected and 150 people were buried in a massive landslide that swept through Bududa District displacing over 8,000 people.

Given the expected impact of this year’s El Nino across the country, the Office of the Prime Minister issued the ‘National El Niño Preparedness and Contingency Plan’ to coordinate Government and development partner action.

For more information, please contact:

 

Steven Goldfinch

Disaster Risk Management Advisor

United Nations Development Programme

Tel: +256 772 289 175

E-mailsteven.goldfinch@undp.org

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