Ganta, Nimba County – Disaster control and management is not only a concern to Liberia but the world at large, due to the risk disaster poses on the livelihood of inhabitants within affected environments.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah/0777039231 [email protected]
Several communities in Liberia have over the years suffered disasters, including flooding, fire outbreak among others.
In order to mitigate or keep its citizens alert, the Liberian government had installed seven meteorological detective equipment in some counties across Liberia.
At the start of a three-day training session for traditional leaders and local administrators on “Traditional Word of Mouth Dissemination” and risk management of disaster, the coordinator on Early Warning System at the Ministry of Transport, Amos Borbor, noted that the equipment are meant to serve as early warning signals to reduce the effect of these tragedies.
“These meteorological instruments are supposed to inform the agency on what is going to happen or take place as it relates to disaster and increase capacity of hydro-meteorological services and associated networks to monitor and predict extreme weather and climate-related hazards,” Borbor said.
The equipment, according to him, were provided to government by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
They include lightening device-all-in one Weather Station for wind, Agro Met Station for soil and Synoptic Station for airport.
Borbor disclosed that the disaster management equipment will serve as detectors for wind speed direction, temperature, air pressure as well as solar radiation among others.
Apart from the seven devices already installed, government through its disaster management arm at the Ministry of Transport, stated that it has also procured 12 additional disaster detective devices and are expected to be installed in strategic locations in Liberia, mainly airports soon.
Moreover, government has revealed plans of completing paper work to purchase hydrological stations for installation in Liberia’s six major rivers for early warning of flood in the country.
“The machine will also determine any chemical spill by unknown sources in these waters, because almost all of these rivers have their roots from neighboring countries like Guinea and La Côte d’Ivoire,” Mr. Borbor averred.
He further stated that the hydrological station will help to store and manage Liberia’s water data.
For his part, National Disaster Management Agency Deputy Executive Director for Operations, Augustine F. Tamba told the traditional leaders that information dissemination plays a pivotal role in disaster management and control and must be taken seriously.
“The acquisition of information from one or more sources, the custodianship and the distribution of that information to those who need it and its ultimate disposition through archiving or deletion are all important to this process,” Tamba stressed.
He furthered, that the training will strengthen locals “words of mouth” dissemination system, by building local administrators and traditional leaders’ capacity to instruct communities on appropriate responses to early warning.
Tamba believes the training session would serve as an effectual tool for dissemination of water-related analysis information at local levels.
“This aligns with Liberian capability to provide climate information and services to enhance resilient development and adaptation to climate change, also known as the Early Warning System (EWS) under the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Project,” he added.
Also speaking, the training coordinator at the National Disaster Management Agency, Louise K.D. Morris, named limited funding, lack of coordinated structures at various governmental levels and human resource gap as factors affecting disaster management in Liberia.
Madam Morris further noted that political transition has impacted the work at the National Disaster Management Agency negatively in data collections.
“Most of the counties’ administrators are refusing to work with data clerks that were trained in Ghana by the Agency and this is creating difficulties in collecting data on early warning of disasters in the various counties,” she disclosed.
“Most of these data clerks have been removed by newly appointed counties’ superintendents and other counties’ officials,” Madam Morris intoned.
Responding, Paramount Chief James P. Sayee from River Gee County cautioned officials at the Disaster Management Agency to reduce the training into local communications and booklets that will enable local administrators educate inhabitants within traditional communities.
In a related development, the National Disaster Management Agency said it has completed the Multi-Hazard Contingency Plan and is setting up an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to deal with any future emergency like Ebola.
The plan, according to the agency’s Deputy Executive Director for Operation, will identify epidemics, sea erosion, fire, flood, wind storm and conflict as common hazards that are likely to bring about emergency or disaster situation in Liberia.