Recurring disasters in Ghana exposed inadequacies in disaster management

Accra- The National Medium-Term Development Policy, 2012-2021, acknowledges that recurring disasters in the country in recent years have exposed the inadequacies in disaster management at all levels.

These recurring disasters include floods, fires, cholera outbreaks, fuel explosions, and the collapse of buildings, Dr Mensah Isaac Bonsu, the Director of Planning and Coordination, National Development Planning Commission, said.

He said the relatively poor disaster prevention, response and rehabilitation mechanisms often exacerbated the impact of both natural and human-made disasters.

Dr Bonsu was speaking at a workshop on Agenda for the International Day for Disaster Reduction, organised by the Action for Churches Together (ACT) Alliance Forum for stakeholders to discuss new strategies in the 2019-2026 Action Plan to enhance advocacy and humanitarian work.

ACT Alliance, formed by groups of churches, currently has 147 member organisations with 25,000 staff and volunteers around the globe.

Dr Bonsu said the major challenges for disaster management include limited early warning systems, poor coordination among institutions, poor post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation mechanisms.

He said currently the national development policy objective relating to Disaster Management was to promote proactive planning for disaster prevention and mitigation.

Strategies to achieve this objective include educating public and private institutions on natural and human-induced hazards and disaster risk reduction, strengthening early warning and response mechanisms for disasters, implementing gender sensitivity in disaster management, and strengthening capacity of NADMO to function effectively, he added.

Another relevant National Medium-Term Development Policy objective is to promote resilient urban development. One of the strategies to achieve this objective is to mainstream security and disaster prevention into urban planning and management systems.

Dr Bonsu said to achieve the Policy vision, goals and objectives, required collaboration among stakeholders in the public/private sectors and civil society.

Ministries, Departments and Agencies at the national level, and District Assemblies are all required to prepare their plans to implement the National Medium-Term Development agenda. Our expectation is that all stakeholders will contribute towards disaster risk reduction, he said.

Professor Ahmed N. Zachariah, the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana National Ambulance Service, said from 1998 to 2017, disasters killed more than 1.3 million people and left about 4.4 billion injured.

If we underrate investment in disaster reduction, we are not only losing in monetary value but human lives and property, he said.

Mr Richard A. Yarteh, the Director in charge of Geological and Radiological Department, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), mentioned the lack of resources as a major hindrance to the Organisation’s inability to re-settle disaster victims after managing the disasters.

He expressed the hope that as soon as they got support in that direction NADMO would strengthen its operations in re-settling disaster victims.

Mr Nyarko Ankamah, the Director of Presbyterian Relief Services, said the ACT Alliance was inspired by three pillars – love, hope and humanity – to support the poor and oppressed.

Source: Ghana News Agency