Kenya Red Cross report recommends improvements in disaster law

Published: 7 December 2015 11:46 CET

The Kenya Red Cross has launched a new study on Kenya’s legal preparedness for facilitating and regulating international disaster assistance. The study finds that existing legislation provides for numerous guidelines that apply either directly or indirectly in the regulation of international humanitarian assistance during disasters, but there is not, as yet a comprehensive approach to the issue.

The study notes that existing disaster management regulations are found fragmented in various policy documents and laws,  leading to contradictory understandings among relevant institutions. Moreover, while the current disaster management framework favours decentralization of administrative powers – including the coordination aspect, it leaves room for subjective and discretionary disaster management implementation issues.

Kenya developed a draft National Disaster Management Policy (NDMP) in 2009 and draft National Disaster Management Bill (NDM Bill) in 2014 but, to date, neither have been officially adopted.  However, from the research, it is clear that large portions of the proposed NDMP are already in practice. As such, whereas there is weak legislative and policy architecture, the practice in several aspects of  regulation of international humanitarian assistance is strong. This is facilitated by existing executive orders and good will  from various concerned departments and officers.  Nevertheless, certain gaps in the draft NDMP and NDM Bill should be addressed, in particular, the lack of attention of the role of non-governmental actors.

In order to address this, the report recommends that the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC) be  empowered to have an overall coordination role in disaster response, including with non-governmental agencies. Sufficient allocation of budget to the NDOC is also recommended to facilitate better execution of functions including, coordination. Likewise, the report advocates a more formal recognition of the role of the Kenya Red Cross.


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