By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Henry O. Williams has alarmed that more than 90,000 people across Liberia have been affected by disaster, to include sea erosion, floods, fire, and windstorm.
Mr. Williams noted that it has been challenging for the NDMA to address the situation, which he indicated that it will be difficult to solve the problems if the Agency do not get adequate financial support.
NDMA Executive Director spoke during the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism regular press briefing yesterday October 20, 2022, when he however stressed on ways to curb the problems by creating more awareness to mitigate citizen actions that increase flood risk, coastal erosion, fire and other hazards.
Moreover, he mentioned the whole of community approach and the anticipation are very crucial in disaster management because disaster risk is a crosscutting issue. He said, “disaster put development at risk and development choices can likewise generate new disaster risks if not properly anticipated and dealt with”.
Continuing, he said that disaster reduction is a developmental that should be addressed through development interventions that help prevent and reduce disaster risks. He further stressed to enforce building codes and zoning laws to stop people from building in water ways and wetlands.
Speaking further he called for a stronger partnership, effective and efficient communication, coordination and cooperation among stakeholders, provision of safe and equitable access to enough water for drinking, cooking, personal and domestic hygiene, and to operationalize the Disaster Management trust Fund to take care of mitigation and response activities.
According to Executive Director Williams, to take care of disaster management is not simple because the Agency is not only responding when disasters happen but also to meet international obligations under the Sendai Monitoring Framework and other obligations as expected by ECOWAS, the AUC and the UN. Therefore, the NDMA has produced the Gender Policy, Multi-Hazard Contingency Plan, and the National DRR Strategy, not produced by many countries.
Additionally, he explained that assistance from the partners have been great, with the UNDP helping with more than US$300,000 on the EOC and the Building housing of the NDMA. He added that the Japanese government have provided the entity with additional operational inputs, with a more than US$1.8m project to include a three-year internet subscription, 15 motorbikes for national response. Two sophisticated drones for data gathering and risk assessment and will also fund website for ten years.
He also mentioned receiving response support from CRS, and have received support from ECOWAS, AU Mission, the US government – the Kofi Anna Institution in Ghana, adding that the UN Women funded the NDMA Gender Policy.
He thanked President George Manneh Weah for his involvement when disaster was at its peak and point out that when help is not forth coming from the partners the government redeems the NDMA.