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Elders considered in disaster planning

(L-R) Antonio Wohler, Chairperson, Katutura Old Age Home Management Committee, receiving the Emergency Preparedness Plan for the Home from Councillor Muesee Kazapua, Deputy Mayor, City of Windhoek, at the celebrations of the International Day for Disaster Reduction. (Photograph by Mandisa Rasmeni)

(L-R) Antonio Wohler, Chairperson, Katutura Old Age Home Management Committee, receiving the Emergency Preparedness Plan for the Home from Councillor Muesee Kazapua, Deputy Mayor, City of Windhoek, at the celebrations of the International Day for Disaster Reduction. (Photograph by Mandisa Rasmeni)

The City of Windhoek celebrated the International Day for Disaster Reduction on Wednesday at the Katutura Old Age Home. The day was first celebrated in 2010 and the theme then was “My City is Getting Ready”.
This year the City focused on the elderly under the theme “Resilience is for Life” which called upon society to acknowledge and recognise senior citizens as resources for resilience and ensure their equal participation in society building.
Chief Executive Officer of City of Windhoek, Nilo Taapopi said that the celebration of the day was aimed at acknowledging the role played by elder person in all phases of disaster management, namely the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
“Older people play crucial roles within our society and are often pivotal in supporting response and recovery to disaster and emergencies,” said Taapopi. He said if older people’s roles and their needs are overlooked, the needs of their families and dependants are also overlooked.

His Worship, Councillor Muesee Kazapua, Deputy Mayor of Windhoek said that resilience has emerged as a promising strategy towards successfully helping the ageing and a number of studies have shown that building resilience can be a good way to extend life itself.
“Council enforces building regulations to ensure that residents in wheelchairs, including senior citizens have access to public institutions to seek services, furthermore the City’s Disaster Risk Management Division has developed an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Katutura Old Age Home and the caretakers have been oriented on evacuation and they know what to do should there be an emergency at this facility,” said Kazapua.
Kazapua called upon all citizens to have an inclusive approach, and that their activities should at all times respond to older people’s needs. “Many at times we talk about the needs of children, people living with disability and women but less is said about our grandparents,” he emphasised.
He said that senior citizens are reliable encyclopedias and have seen it all and can assist in mitigating disasters so that this world can be a better place now and for future generations.
The United Nations in their message on the International Day for Disaster Reduction said that disaster planning must take account of the reduced mobility experienced by many elder person.

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