OPINIONPeople Daily

Integrity is key factor in mitigating disasters

The miraculous rescue of baby Delarine Saisi from the rubble of the collapsed six-storey building in Huruma is a reminder of life’s paradoxes. The child’s mother, who is presumed to be among those who died in the disaster, had placed her in a basin and wrapped her in a towel.

The world is stunned at how this child survived four days under the rubble. In separate episode, People Daily yesterday reported how, a 35-year-old mother set her two children and herself ablaze over family relations gone sour. The twists and turns of life are evident in the two narratives.

Both tragic in their wake, yet choices made of different quality and capacity. There is something most bothersome, about planned disasters, in contrast to sheer accidents. While the nation is enraged at those who did not observe construction rules in Huruma leading to scores of deaths and injuries, it is evident that the public have individual responsibility.

John Jensen says: “The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry.” World Vision staff, and other agencies, were at hand assisting injured people, handing out water, and doing whatever they could, given the heart wrenching circumstances.

But what is the way forward, when faced with intricacies of disasters that are planned and accidents that can be forestalled? As with the case of Baby Saisi, whose mother saved her, there must be in each of us an internal sixth-sense, pointing out how to deal with emergencies.

In this case, the commitment this mother had to the wellbeing of her baby, involved getting the right actions in place. No doubt, when the building begun to shake, her first instinct was not to find a Child Protection Policy or The Children’s Act, 2001 for instruction.

The point? Decency and integrity needs to be a law, indelibly written and inculcated in our hearts and minds, to do good wherever and whenever we can, sometimes at the cost of what we hold dear.

As we rejoice with Ralson Wasike, whose daughter Siasi is now recovering at Kenyatta National Hospital, as a nation, we thank the Kenya Disaster Management Operations Centre for rescue efforts. In equal measure, we condole with families that have lost loved ones.

Whereas, contradictions of life can be inevitable, accountability and clear engagement or proposals to avoid disasters, is critical. —The author is a Senior Communications and Media Officer, World Vision, Kemya.

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