The office of the Vice-President in conjunction with the Zambia Red Cross Society has commissioned the Strengthening Emergency Response Project (SERP) aimed at enhancing community disaster management.

During the commissioning of the Project in Lusaka yesterday, Vice-President Inonge Wina said in a speech read for her by the
Minister in her office Sylvia Chalikosa that the project would provide strong coordination systems in provinces that were prone to various kinds of disasters.

Chalikosa also said that government was determined to work with other cooperating partners in ensuring that transformation in tackling increasing effects of climate change on the people of Zambia and their livelihoods were addressed.

“The commissioning of the SERP project is coming at the best time when my government is seeking partnerships to strengthen disaster preparedness and response at community and district levels. I am optimistic that the SERP project will provide strong coordination systems in the provinces that are prone to disasters. I am hopeful too that the SERP project in collaboration with my office at district level will establish the much required satellite disaster management committees in communities and support their functioning,” Chalikosa said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as government and the office in charge of providing guidance and disaster management, we are proactive in
generating partnerships which will bring about real transformation in tackling increasing effects of climate change on our people and their livelihoods. I am aware that many of our cooperating partners in climate change sector want us to focus a lot on building resilience among vulnerable communities through disaster risk reduction approaches. Certainly this is the best way communities can cope with disasters and remain buoyant when disasters occur.”

Chalikosa commended the Zambia Red cross Society for initiating the response preparedness project saying the project would improve the ways in which implementation of disaster risk reduction activities were conducted.

“My administration has a serious agenda of uplifting the standard of living of the Zambian people and this has been shown through the construction sector and through various social and economic programmes that are putting monies back in the pockets of our men and women and their families. And I am glad that the SERP project has a component called Focast Based Financing. Indeed this mechanism is an innovative approach that uses scientific data to indicate elevated risks and only allows the release of humanitarian funding before the potential disaster occurs. This mechanism is indeed bridging the missing mechanism in the implementation of disaster risk reduction activities,” Chalikosa said.

“I must further state that this approach is the first of its kind in the country and it will assist us to use scarce resources more effectively. My government hopes to learn from this innovative approach and I assure you of my support.”

Meanwhile, Zambia Red Cross Society President Godfrey Simasiku said the project would not have been achievable without the help of government.

“We have joined hands with the international community and the government in ensuring that people don’t suffer double tragedy, as we start to arrest disaster in our communities through available information, there is need for us to spare adequate resources for this exercise and I want to thank the government through the DMMU and the office of the Vice-President for always being their for us and please madam Minister [Chalikosa], convey my heartfelt appreciation to her Honour the Vice-President because your office is doing everything possible to try and see how best we can reposition things in our operations. We are very grateful and we know that you will do everything possible to give priority to the safety of the Pope of Zambia,” said Simasiku.