Ghana — Mr Akrofi Asiedu, Acting National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), has called for the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction into development policies and programmes to make disaster management more effective.
To this end, he said, there was the need for strong political and financial commitments to disaster management at the national, regional and district levels.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Asiedu (rtd) was speaking at the joint launch of the Platform of the Northern Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop in Tamale recently.
He noted that similar workshops had been held in other regions and expressed the hope that through them a capacity assessment of NADMO would be undertaken and that the outcomes would enrich the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) cooperation with the organisation.
He said disaster risk reduction was an issue of great complexity and no single government ministry or agency could deal with it alone.
He said NADMO had asked the Regional, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Disaster Management Committees to meet to plan, prepare, prevent and mitigate disasters at all levels.
The NADMO Coordinator noted that the Northern Region was endowed with rich fertile land and other natural resources and had the potential of contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.
He said it was, therefore, necessary to build the resilience of the communities to disasters adding that this could be done through factoring disaster risk reduction into all development planning and strategies.
Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, observed that the country occasionally lost lives arising from disasters such as the Volta Lake accidents and said such disasters affected the socio-economic activities and thus undermined national efforts towards achieving sustainable development.
He said the Government took issues of disaster risk very seriously and that was why disaster management had been given a prominent role in the country’s medium-term development strategy.
He said the Growth and Poverty-Reduction II was aimed at reducing extreme poverty and social deprivation through providing for the needs of the vulnerable and excluded by enhancing disaster response, mitigation and prevention.
Alhaji Idris said making disaster management an integral part of national development policy brought to the fore that disaster risk reduction was about development partnership.
“Disaster management should be seen as a multi-disciplinary and inter-institutional undertaking that calls for co-operation and co-ordination among stakeholders and partners.
“Effective disaster management also requires consistent advocacy programmes for political authorities and the legislature, in addition to public awareness of the citizenry”, the Regional Minister said.
Mr John H. Aquah, Acting Chief Fire Officer, said the Northern Region was becoming increasingly vulnerable to bushfires due to the growing population and the pressure on land.
He said the charcoal industry in places like the East, Central and West Gonja Districts contributed to bush burning and attributed the current rate of deforestation, which he said, stood at 22,000 hectares per annum to bushfires.
He called on all stakeholders to sustain and intensify public safety education on the prevention of bushfires and other natural disasters.