-Says 52,036 People Affected By Flood Disaster; Calls For Budgetary Support
The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has been counting the cost of unremitting flooding situations caused by torrential rains in different parts of the country, putting the number of affected people at 52,036, with one death.
“Before the August downpour of rain, a high precipitation in July caused mass displacement of people and affected 52,036 people with reported death of one, water points polluted and properties damaged; thereby causing serious humanitarian crisis in several communities in Montserrado, Margibi, Bomi, Grand Bassa and Sinoe counties,” NDMA confirmed in a statement at the weekend at occasion marking the observance of International Day of Disaster.
During the rainy season, one of the two climatic conditions Liberia faces, citizens experienced untold sufferings ranging from material, human and economic losses that government is always burdened to address itself to.
In the statement read by Augustine Tamba, Deputy Director for Operations, NDMA said it managed to provide response to affected individuals and communities through coordinated partnership support from other government and foreign entities.
“Although the humanitarian response process started relatively slow, real intervention has since begun in Margibi, Montserrado, Bomi and Grand Bassa counties,” NDMA noted.
However, the disaster management entity said it is experiencing constraints and challenges to gather accurate data from Sinoe County; thus making intervention there impossible.
“However, about 75% of the affected people have received relief supplies of food and nonfood items, health and hygiene materials, as well as cash transfer. The effort is still continuing,” NDMA maintained.
NDMA enumerates specific gaps
NDMA has enumerated specific capacity gaps that need to be filled to mitigate the high cost brought on affected communities
It named the gaps as lack of support for shelters’ renovation for victims in all affected areas, lack of commitment to get flood affected children back to school, lack of funding to compensate volunteers of emergency and lack of the required capacity to collect and analyze data.
Moreover, lack of vehicles and other logistics needed for response purposes also topped the entity’s gap list.
“The rains are almost over. Floods are likely to cease, but there is a lot to prepare for if we are to reduce economic loss of disaster. During the Dry Season, we need to prepare for the fire, pest infestation, air pollution, epidemics, sea erosion, unexpected bio-chemical outbreaks etc. All of these are cost to human lives, the economy and the right to exist,” the NDMA statement said.
In order to address and mitigate constraints it faces in responding to disaster situations, NDMA calls on the Liberian Government and partners for capacity to strengthen its response by increasing budgetary allocation as well as personnel budget to augment its workforce to cover the country for quick response in case of a disaster.
In the same vein, NDMA also wants Disaster Education offered in both high schools and universities considering it the newest human threat.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction began in 1989, according to a United Nations General Assembly proclamation for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.
This year focused on Target C of the Sendai Framework, “Reducing Disaster Economic Losses” in relation to global GDP by 2030.
It is held every 13 October of each year to celebrate people and communities that are reducing exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
The 2018 edition continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign, centered on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework.
Historically, disaster in Liberia has witnessed hazards such as fires, rainstorms, epidemics, sea erosions, conflicts and the most frequent, floods that threatened human existence and created lots of economic losses.
The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) was created in 2016 as an autonomous agency after an unfortunate flood that impacted the economy of the state and its people.