Rep. Tibelrosa Tarponweh Proposes Ways to Strengthen Disaster Risk Management in Liberia

Rep. Tebelrosa Summoh Tarponweh of Margibi County Electoral District #1 proposed the establishment of a Disaster Management Trust Fund to swiftly respond to disaster in Liberia  

Monrovia – As the rainy season fast approaches in Liberia, Margibi County Electoral District #1 Rep. Tibelrosa Summoh Tarponweh has called for the setting up of a Disaster Manage Trust Fund (DMTF) to promptly address the needs of disaster victims. 

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

In a communication to plenary, Rep. Tarponweh proposed the allotment of US$500,000 to the DMTF for a short time disaster response and the amount could be increased as other sources of income are identified within the national economy and through public-private partnership initiatives for a long term disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

The National Disaster Management Agency Act of 2016 called for the establishment of a DMTF to strengthen the emergency preparedness and response system of the Government of Liberia and effectively manage the impact of disaster risks within the broader context of disaster risk management. However, that has not been done since the enactment of the bill into law.

In his communication, Rep. Tarponweh warned: As the raining season is fast approaching and the fright of flood is intimidating our people that live in flood prone communities, the time for action is now to plan before, during and after the unstoppable floods, which is certain to strike during the raining season.”

Rep Tarponweh noted that although there are other forms of disasters, he is placing more emphasis on flood which is experienced on an annual basis; adding: “Many of our citizens stand the risk of being dehumanized I flood situation during the raining season, which uproot them from home, resulting in the total lack of basic necessities of life include food, medical supply, flood resilient shelter and clothing. 

A Representative of one of the most flood prone areas, Rep. Tarponweh revealed that his office has had series of ‘collaborative’ engagements with authority of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and other line ministries and agencies of government.

He mentioned that the thunderstorm disaster in New Kru Town, the numerous flood disaster across the country during the raining season and the recent goldmine disaster in Nimba County are some of the reasons behind his proposal. 

He noted that despite being a newly established governmental arm, the NDMA has the requisite technical capacity to respond to incidence of flood and other forms of disaster, but lack of financial and logistical capacities to promptly respond to any form of disaster occurrence for which the realization of the DMTF must be urgently prioritized for national emergency response.

How to Finance the Disaster Management Trust Fund (DMTF) 

According to Rep, Tarponweh, the DMTF, if launched and operational, will be an opportunity for donors to direct their contributions to deliver a strengthened and coherent response under a public private partnership scheme and allow public and private actors including donors to pool their contributions to enable the delivery of life-saving assistance to most affected people under the direct supervision of the Board of the National Disaster Management Agency.

He added that the DMTF will enable the government, through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and other local partners to reach the most vulnerable and affected people to ensure maximum impact of limited resources.

He furthered that the DMTF will be inclusive and proactive in the promotion of partnerships, local and international in the mobilization of emergency funding and a comprehensive policy will be developed to manage funds in order to ensure transparency and accountability. 

“The DMTF action is intended to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity during and after disasters caused by natural hazards, as well as to prevent and strengthen preparedness when disaster situation occur,” he penned.

He added that it will be guided by the principles of kindness, impartiality and accountability.

According to him, the DMTF will be a system in place by which a Presidential Declaration of an Emergency will meet a criterion of funding and further trigger financial and other forms of assistance through the National Disaster Management Agency.

He indicated that in as much as individual politicians are expected to render assistance to victims of flood and other forms of natural disaster, such help, as desirable as it may be, will not have much impact when compared to assistance that is derived from the collective will and resources of the state. 

Meanwhile, several lawmakers including Rep. Dorwohn Gleekia lauded the Margibi County District #1 lawmaker for the communication and called for the implementation of the recommendations. He however indicated that the recommendation should not be limited to support for flood victims, but those that are also affected from other forms of disaster. 

The communication was received by the leadership of the House of Representatives to be followed with a meeting on Monday, May 13, 2019 with relevant agencies and line ministries including the National Disaster Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Public Works.