“Invest in disaster risks prevention mechanism” – Stakeholders

Accra� Stakeholders at a day’s meeting on Disaster Risks Reduction advocate for increased investment in disaster risks prevention mechanism to help build a sustainable resilience community.

According to them, it was better to prevent disasters than wait for it to happen before going to look for funds to mitigate the destructions to properties and livelihoods.

Mr Samuel Gmalu, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs/Security Manager, World Vision, speaking at the programme organized by the Presbyterian Relief Services and Development (PRS&D) to engage stakeholders on Disaster Risks Reduction (DRR), urged both government and the private sector to focus more on disaster preparedness through educating the public.

He urged government to allocate the needed resources, including finance and logistics, as appropriate, at all levels of administration for the development and the implementation of DRR strategies, policies, plans, laws, and regulations in all relevant sectors.

The PRS&D is an agency of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) under the Department of Development and Social Services.

It is a non-profit agency through which the Church promotes activities such as health; education, assist rural communities in leadership development; disaster preparedness and management; empowerment of women and youth in achieving sustainable income, among others.

Mr Gmalu said it was very important as a country to identify the disaster risks and put in mechanism to prevent it, adding, if we do not identify our disaster risks, we will be going through cycles of disasters every year.

He said to achieve effectiveness in disaster resilience, there was the need to equip the local level agencies; train officers to stand up for the task, and a systematic evaluation and sharing of information among all stakeholders.

He also called for mainstreaming and integrating DRR within and across all sectors; reviewing and promoting the coherence and further development, as appropriate of national and local frameworks of laws, regulations and public policies.

The policies, Mr Gmalu, said must go with budget and resources to make it effective and efficient.

We need to adopt and implement national and local DRR strategies and plans across different timescale, with targets indicators and timeframe, aimed at preventing the creation of risks, the reduction of existing risks and strengthening of economic, social, health and environmental resilience.

Training is very important in disaster preparedness. But unfortunately for us in Ghana, whenever there is a change in government all the public officers you trained have to go home for new ones to come and take over, only for the CSOs to start training these new people again, he said.

Mr Gmalu said that has been affecting their training efforts and called for policies, which should be applied in its entity to ensure continuity in those areas.

He, therefore, called for inter-agency coordination mechanism to put resources together to build a resilience community; network and share information and experiences through collaboration and partnerships at all levels.

Mr Ebenezer Okoampa, Disaster Management Consultant, said in disaster response, timeliness, appropriateness and effectiveness were the drivers and stressed the need for individuals and communities to start their own monitoring to find out what was happening around them for quick solutions.

He also reiterated the need for public education on preparedness after which, the laws must be allowed to bite to serve as deterrent.

He noted that every organization in relief response should be part of solving the problem by being involved in educating the people.

Rev. Daniel Edmund Asante, Director, Development and Social Services, said Ghana was exposed to risks of multiple weather related hazards, particularly droughts and floods risks.

He said from 1991 to 2011, Ghana had experienced seven major floodsin 2010 floods in the White Volta basin affected hundreds of lives, destroying their properties and livelihoods, with the last major disaster occurring in 2015.

He said the stakeholders’ engagement was to fashion out lasting solution to disaster challenges of the country to reduce occurrence of disasters to the barest minimum.

Rev Asante, therefore, expressed the hope that at the end of the engagement, the meeting would come out with that will help address disaster challenges.

Rev Samuel Ayite-Nyanpong, Clerk of the General Assembly, of PCG, said the goal of the engagement was to reflect on how to reduce disaster risks through better understanding of hazards risk, reducing vulnerability to hazards, and enhancing capacities for disaster risk reduction.

Source: Ghana News Agency