International donor organizations in Liberia have promised to assist the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) achieve its national responsibility.
A June 2016 Act of the National Legislature established the NDMA as an autonomous agency for the purpose of implementing the National Disaster Management Policy, “coordinating the national disaster management system, incorporating state and non-state actors at national, county, district and chieftaincy levels, and handling disaster-related issues to ensure reduced vulnerabilities to natural and human induced hazards.”
During an acquaintance meeting with the management and board of the NDMA held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Thursday, May 3, 2018, the donors advanced several recommendations aimed at strengthening the disaster agency.
The donors urged the agency to be proactive to mitigate response because disaster does not give prior notice before hitting any community and want the disaster agency consider sweeping wings, plant pets and drugs in its preparedness.
The international groups said they are not strangers to the process of establishing the disaster agency and also called on the management to capture and highlight gender issues in its national programs, taking into consideration gender in emergency.
Speaking earlier to open the acquaintance meeting, the Chairman of the NDMA’s Board, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, commended the donor community for the level of support to Liberia, mainly for the role they played in the formulation of the disaster management act.
Minister Sirleaf said government must be prepared for disaster, the absence of which, he believes caused the Ebola disease to easily penetrate the communities in 2014.
For his part, the Executive Director of the NDMA, Hon. Henry O. Williams thanked the donor organizations for the level of collaboration and told them that “we called you here today to brainstorm for 2018 because we are new and have serious capacity gap”.
Hon. Williams assured the donors that the agency will consider their recommendations.The NDMA used the acquaintance meeting to make a power-point presentation to the donors, highlighting the outcome of its needs assessment which include need for training in risk and hazard identification and mapping, surveillance in disaster, disaster communication and advanced first aid.