The Ministry of Internal Affairs and partners Monday began a three-day disaster risk assessment and identification training with county representatives of line ministries and agencies as well as civil society organizations (CSOs) in Margibi County.
Giving an overview of the training, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Operations, Rennie B. Jackson, said the workshop concerns disaster management issues such as preparedness, planning, hazard mapping, identification, and concepts related to disaster management cycle. He said the MIA hopes that at the end of such training, there will be an enhanced commitment for strengthening county specific structures to manage disaster.
Calling for the full involvement of all citizens in mitigating disaster occurrences, Minister Jackson warned that disaster management is not only the responsibility of one agency or individual, “but all of us” and the responsibility of all actors.
He disclosed that prior to the training workshop in Kakata, his ministry had conducted similar trainings to county structures at regional level which according to him, have encouraged county structures on the relevance of establishing a disaster management system in the country, following which the MIA has collected baseline data and conducted cross-country assessment for establishing and enhancing the disaster management system in the country.
Among other outlined challenges however, Minister Jackson said information management in the country is still weak in general; and there are no disaster preparedness contingency and response plans and that stakeholders’ participation at county level is poor.
The situation, among others, he said inspired MIA, UNMIL, WFP, and UNDP to organize such training workshops that will enhance the county structures to disaster management.
“This training workshop will add to our knowledge, our skill, our behavior-the way we view disaster issues and improve our commitment to disaster”, he added.
For his part, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration, Varney A. Sirleaf, stressed the need for disaster related issues to be mitigated before they spill over to emergency situations which he said could be devastating even before government and partners respond. He cautioned, “Talking about reducing the risk, what you can do to cause you disaster problem, avoid it.”
The Internal Affairs Minister assured the birth and survival of the disaster management policy of the country that is said to be awaiting the signature of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf but at the same time called on international and development partners to aid in the sustainability of the policy, saying “Of course government also has to come in to commit some public resources to it, we will still need your support.”
The three-day training workshop on risk assessment and identification is organized by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs-National Disaster Relief Unit in collaboration with UNDP, WFP, and UNMIL with funding from UNDP.