Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weather forecast staff unqualified, Ugandan MPs told

By Petride Mudoola, The New Vision

MEMBERS of Parliament have raised concern over lack of qualified personnel in the meteorology department.

Manafwa Woman MP Sarah Netarisire said the legislators had received reports from experts at Makerere University that the current staff at the department are not sufficiently skilled in weather predictions.

Netarisire, who is a member of the agricultural committee of Parliament, disclosed this during the launch of the Parliamentarians Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The function was at Hotel Africana last Wednesday.

She observed that: “Lack of qualified personnel within the meteorology department has contributed to contradictory reports regarding weather predictions. The forecasters claim the country will experience drought, but it does not happen. They say there will be el-nino, but it does not take place.”

Netarisire said meteorology experts from Makerere made the disclosure while appearing before the committee recently.

She cited the recent landslides, triggered off by torrential rains, that hit Mabono village in Bulambuli district, claiming lives.

The rain also destroyed properties worth millions of shillings in Bugisu and Karamoja sub-regions.

Meteorology department’s public relations manager Khalid Muwembe said they were not aware of any unskilled personnel in the sector.

“Majority of the workforce in meteorology is recruited by the Government. If there is anything to the contrary, then the Ministry of Public Service is to blame,” Muwembe said.

A meteorologist, who preferred anonymity, attributed the inaccuracy in predicting weather to the fact that Uganda has no local training centre.

As a result, he said, meteorologists undergo training outside the country.

“I is quite difficult to copy the weather knowledge attained from a foreign land to best suit with the native,” he observed.

There is only one centre in Kenya for training meteorologists in Africa and it was established by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.

Additionally, most of the equipment in place is out dated and cannot accurately predict weather patterns.


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