Natural disaster early warning systems: The role of NGOs

Monica Omulo
Climate, Environment and Development Action Network-Kenya (CEDAN-K), P.O. Box 20788, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel. : +254-2-445-659

Inadequate information, poor infrastructure and insufficient financial resources are hampering the implementation of early warning systems in Africa. Most African countries rely heavily on donor funds to carry out research and modelling activities necessary for the prediction of natural disasters for early warning systems. Recently donor funds have decline.

In the case of Kenya, scientists give information regarding an impending natural disaster to the government. It is then the role of the government to use available mechanisms to send out early warning to the public. However, in many cases the information never reaches the public who are the most seriously affected when the disaster occurs.

NGOs work at local level between the public and policy makers. They mobilise communities, provide training, information and advocacy services. They are in a better position to bridge the link between researchers and the public in sending early warning information. There is need to strengthen NGOsí capacity to play a key role in information dissemination to the public.