Natural Disasters and Africa: How Prepared is the Continent?

16 May 2008 at 02:22 | 1123 views

By Ahmed Ojulla Bangura,Bradford, UK.

Natural disasters are becoming a daily threat to every living species on earth. These
disasters are seen happening in villages, towns, cities, at all seasons and time, and at
different levels of catastrophe. They have claimed lives and destroyed properties and
show no sign of abating. They have devastated both developing and developed
economies, people of different faith and religion, young and old, rich and deprived

But the big question is: how prepared is Sub-Saharan Africa to face persistent and
insurmountable natural disasters in her present socio-economic and political malaise?

Sub-Saharan Africa, despite opulent natural resources can not provide basic needs to
her people even in stable times. The situation is provoked by severe political problems
and psychological distortion by individuals who seek nothing else but egoistic
tendencies. This attitude should change because Natural shocks are no respecter of man
or nation, or continent.

In our world today, natural disasters are imminent and eminent and appear like ‘broken
China in the rain’. It is evident that even developed countries like the USA, UK, suffer
from Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Floods etc. Developing and transition countries have
experienced Tsunami, earthwake as it is in China on the 12th May, 2008, volcanic
eruption in Chile and cyclone in Myanmar. At least thousands are killed yearly by
insurmountable natural disasters and many more made homeless and helpless.

African countries have also witnessed natural disasters in certain levels in Mozambique,
Ethiopia, and Chad etc. Many lives were lost in every disaster. But can a continent
which depends unrealistic on Aid for running her own affairs provide minimal aid
assistance to her people before the intervention of international aid? It will be to my
dismay when such economies are subjected to ‘resource trap’ due to greed.

Most African countries are not industrialized. They have no budget for making Jet
Fighters, ship building, motor industry, manufacturing of Nuclear weapons, to say the
least. Yet these economies can not put together their natural wealth to providing basic
needs of society that can improve on citizenry welfare. The revenue accrued by most

African countries is rather embezzled, ‘scrambled and partitioned’ among politicians
and their cohorts. This has been going on since pre- independence to post-independence
era. What has become vivid is a culture of dependence on assistance from out side, thus
making it psychologically degrading for nations at this 21st century to dive into a culture
of always begging for assistance and ‘progressively retrogressing growth and

This rhetoric of ‘Aid Dependence’ is taking place amid a global economic and natural
shock. African leaders forget to understand that the greatness of a nation depend on her
sustained economic independence. Reliance on foreign Aid for state budgeting to carry
out the functions of state is an indicator of total subjugation.

Now that natural shocks or disasters have added up to the already global economic
shock, Sub Saharan African Leaders should now, if they had not, address social needs
and budget for contingencies by embarking on mass food production and other
psychological needs of society. They should invest immensely on infrastructure and
adopt ‘adaptable’ strategies to conform to unprecedented natural shocks. This will avert
a further degrading human catastrophe that has already befallen people in villages and
even towns and cities in Africa.
Wake up Africa !!!! A stitch in time saves nine.