By Throble Kaffa Suah, Freelance Journalist |
Over 500, 000 Liberians are expected to be affected in the coming years by disasters. This come in the wake of Liberia risk experiencing epidemic, fire, sea erosion, and flood and windstorm disasters, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has said.
The Agency noted that the country has enormous and scaring histories of fire, floods, epidemic, civil crisis and landslide that continue to affect the citizens.
It stated that disasters and other natural and human induced hazards are indeed concerns that must claims the attention of everyone. “The impacts of disasters on our societies are posing major obstacles to achieving sustainable socio-economic development.”
NDMA’s Executive Director, Henry O. Williams who made the disclosure advanced that the increased frequency and severity of hazards with increased disaster losses continue to affect significant number of Liberians.
He spoke recently during a one day workshop intended to acquaint journalists with the working of NDMA and share knowledge on gathering and reporting emergency news held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
It brought together practitioners from both print and electronic media from Bong, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, and Margibi Counties.
He catalogued how from April 15 to June 21, 2018, the Agency received incidents reports of flood and heavy rainstorm from 9 (nine) of Liberia’s 15 (fifteen) counties and the affected places include Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Margibi, Lower Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Maryland and Grand Kru.
From our investigation, Williams continued, “a total of 6, 375 (six thousand three hundred seventy-five) persons were affected in the 9 counties with Barclayville in Grand Kru County being highly hit followed by Monrovia in Montserrado County.”
The Disaster’s Chief indicated that recent news of flooding, which left one person dead and several others very distressed in Grand Kru and many more displaced in Maryland, has disrupted normal livelihood activities of the people.
“These events are absolutely disturbing and worrisome. To mitigate the impact of disasters and work towards achieving the sustainable development goals and the pro-poor agenda, we need to further strengthen international, regional and sub-regional to collaborations to a serious pro-activeness and preparedness plan,” he noted.
On achievements, Williams said among many things that the NDMA through three 3 regional meetings, finalized County Disaster Management Committee Standard Operating Procedural (SOP) for sub-national EOCs, developed a National Response Manual and subsequently conducted training to CDMCs on the usage of the manual, NDMA has completed a staff induction training as an initial effort at staff capacity building.
He said the NDMA was able to assess all reported incidents in the 15 counties with the affected population of over 51, 000 in various hazards (fire, torrential storm, mud slide and motor accidents) with estimated property value of over US$300,000. “Women and children affected account for 9,000.”
About challenges, he said the agency has been very minimum due to lack of logistical support and funding. “Recently, we have made several assessments in response to people are homeless and languishing in distressed, awaiting appropriate national response.”
The National Legislature enacted into law the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) on June 17, 2016 with primary responsibilities to strengthen disaster preparedness for effective emergency response and improve risk identification and assessment of disaster risks in the country.
The Agency policy recognizes the important role played by women and children in development and the burden they carry and suffer during disasters.
Consequently, all activities implemented by the government and all its partners before, during after disasters, will proactively and consciously include participation of women , children and other vulnerable groups.