Fire Outbreak: Another Menace
Monday, June 11, 2012
t appears that everything bad that used to exist but at a minimal rate has now become part of everyday-life in The Gambia. From murder to manslaughter, rape to robbery, drug to human trafficking and so on and so forth. Fire incident undoubtedly joined the long list of these unfortunate developments, whose occurrences and recurrences threaten the country’s enviable peace and stability.
Last week it was SinchuAlajie Village, where an outbreak of fire caused the loss of nearly one million worth of households belongings. Faji Kunda was in the news in the same week when a mysterious fire shattered the lives and livelihoods of a poor family, and on Thursday, it was Brikama, where the damage could be measured. These were not isolated cases. In recent times, many fires occurred in various places across the country, as if in a merry-go-round affair. Yet , there is no guarantee on sight for a definitive stop, or at least, reversing the trend.
Indeed, providing a solution to the rising spate of fire incidents requires a holistic approach. Each of the various players on the pitch will have to contribute, from the individual occupants of the households to the fire and rescue services. The government and the civil society, including private corporate bodies, also have an indispensable role to play.
Most of the fires had been caused by burning candle, but this phenomenon is changing as more and more people get connected to the grid. While it is quite clear that poverty is biting hard, but it takes only a change of attitude for people to go in for durable, quality electrical appliances. The market is nowadays flooded with so-called cheap, poor quality electrical appliances that have caused so much destruction to many households.
This does not however say that NAWEC should continue taking people’s lives and properties for granted. The constant on and off must either stop, or NAWEC puts in place, among others, communication systems that would alert people, otherwise even the most quality electrical appliances cannot survive it.
Truth be told, government has given more priority to defense than internal security, even though signs are clear that the territorial sovereignty of the country is under no outside threat. The police, the immigration, the fire and rescue services need to have equaled, if not more attention in order to diligently perform their duties. If it is true, as government claimed, that the army has graduated from being a place for school drop outs, the same efforts should be geared towards the police, the immigration and the fire services.No one is however not oblivious to the fact that the government is financially operating leanly due to inadequacy of funds at its disposal. This is where generally the civil organizations and internal development partners should come in, to support various interventions, ranging from providing facilities to fire and rescue services to sensitisationprogrammes. Such support however, should go in tandem with the government having its priorities right.