Unusually heavy rainfall from July to November 2007 led to flooding and water-logging across a number of districts in eastern and northern Uganda, giving rise to a major humanitarian response across all sectors.
The Lessons Learnt workshop, held in Soroti in January 2008, aimed to learn lessons from the 2007 floods response, and determine priorities for disaster risk reduction in relation to potential future floods in Uganda.
The main lessons learnt were the following:
1. Coordination must include all actors, and the DMCs must be given the necessary resources to lead overall coordination of the disaster response
2. Strong rapid assessments are critical to ensure a timely and effective disaster response 3. Funding for recovery activities is equally important as funding for emergency programmes
4. Government funding for emergency response is critical, but procedures to access such funds by the districts could be simplified to improve the timeliness of the response
5. Clusters with members already working in the flood-affected areas were at an advantage, however the willingness of other actors to move into the area on short notice was also a key contributor to the success of the emergency response
6. Adoption of a human rights based approach would have benefited the planning and response to the emergency
7. Opportunities for mitigating disaster risk by reducing vulnerabilities should be prioritised, in order to reduce the potential negative impact of future flooding
8. Early warning systems could play a major role in risk monitoring and triggering a timely response to future flood disasters
9. A stronger focus on reinforcing community coping capacities would improve future responses
10. Stronger linkages with private sector actors are required to ensure that the response is coordinated and common strategies and standards are applied
11. Activation of the logistics cluster was critical to the success of the first phase of the response
12. Adherence to common criteria in the identification of affected population and the use of quality control mechanisms support equitable humanitarian assistance to all those in need
Taking into account these lessons learnt, and also reviewing opportunities for disaster mitigation and strengthening response preparedness, each cluster also developed detailed plans outlining the priority actions that need to be taken before the next flood risk season, together with longer-term programmes to reduce disaster risk.
Although some aspects of these plans have already been factored in to ongoing programming, most are new ideas in search of actors able to implement them, and/or funding and resource allocations. It is hoped that advocacy will be undertaken to ensure that at least the most priority activities are undertaken before the next flood risk season, due to start in July 2008.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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