The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative or (WADPI) has ended a two weeks intensive training on disaster management in Monrovia.
The training, which began last week at the Golden Gate Hotel in Paynesville outside Monrovia, brought together officials of government line ministries and agencies, and commissions with 30 participants from five counties includingMontserrado, Gbarpolu, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Margibi, respectively.
The exercise was conducted under the auspices of the West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative or WADPI in collaboration with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) based in Ghana.
It was specifically meant to build capacities of ECOWAS countries to improve responses to disasters such as Ebola at the national and international levels, and other disasters that may occur.
The course covered variety of fields, including health, operations, logistics, security, civil-military coordination and humanitarian assessment, among others. Participants are expected to improve their collaboration skills and responsiveness.
The main objective of the two-weeks training in Liberia is to utilize lessons learned from the recent Ebola epidemic, and to strengthen national capacities.It is also meant to implement an all-hazards approach to disaster preparedness and response management to ensure continued regional collaboration, communication and coordination among member States in disaster preparedness and response.
Suggested target groups for the two weeks training came from government ministries, departments and agencies involved in the various partner nations’ disaster management system. It is expected that the number of participants for the main training will average about 30 persons from a county.
The WADPI is supported by the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP).
The USAFRICOM DPP has been working to enhance disaster capacity and capability of African partner nations since its inception in 2009. It promotes a whole-of-government disaster planning and management across Africa, involving more than 26 countries to date.
Speaking at the closure of the training over the weekend, WADPI Regional Advisor,Madam Faith Cooper,said the essence of the exercise was to share strategic ideas, framework, policies and best practices in disaster preparedness which will enhance regional coordination and collaboration throughout West Africa.
Madam Cooper also indicated that the training will further explore opportunities for sustainable participation of various stakeholders, adding that it was about time that Liberia takes the issue of disaster management serious, because it destroys growth and development of any country.
Meanwhile,Liberia’s Acting Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, has urged the trainees to demonstrate the knowledge they acquired when called upon to respond to any form of disaster.
Minister Sirleaf noted thatlessons learned from Ebola have taken disaster management into serious consideration, pledging government’s support to efforts aimed at curbing disaster.
He called on Liberians to desist from building structures in waterways, saying,“You cannot build your house in the water land and when disaster comes thenyou complain that government is doing nothing about disaster in the country.”
By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Jonathan Browne