Harare (New Ziana) – The government should invest in equipment for the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) to enable it to speedily and effectively respond to disasters and not rely on other agencies as is the case at the moment.
DCP director Nathan Nkomo said at the moment the DCP relied on other agencies like the military for helicopters, the police for scuba divers, the Ministry of Health and Child Care for ambulances and local authorities for fire tenders.
“Although the department is improvising by using helicopters from the army, we need tools that are built or that are meant to be used for disaster response, not for warfare,” he said.
Nkomo said many lives would be saved if the department had its own equipment as it would respond promptly to emergencies rather than waste time mobilizing other agencies for assistance.
“The state of some our roads might not give us the results but if you fly the sub-aqua unit to places where flooding would have occurred, within a few minutes you will arrive and retrieve a live body than retrieving a dead one, said Nkomo.
He said the DCP recently visited Belarus and Russia where it learnt the difference that having its own necessary equipment could make in dealing with disasters.
“We know what the American system is like, we participated in EMERCOM of Russia and we also participated in the Belarusian Civil Protection System.”
“It is high time the government invests in the tools of the trade for the department because we know what we want, we know what disaster preparedness is given our exposure and experience in other countries we have visited,” Nkomo said.
Nkomo however said despite the challenge of not having its own equipment, the DCP was always prepared to handle any disaster that might befall the country regardless of its magnitude.