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NDMA Pays Courtesy Call on Nigerian High Commissioner, Discusses Possibility of Support and Partnership

Nigerian Embassy, Hill Cut Junction, Freetown, February 8th 2022 – A team from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) headed by the Deputy Director-General, John V. Rogers, paid a courtesy call on the Nigerian High Commissioner, Henry John Omaku to introduce the NDMA to the Embassy and explore possibilities of support and partnership between NDMA, the Nigerian Embassy in Sierra Leone and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Nigeria.

Presenting on behalf of the NDMA, the Deputy Director-General, John V. Rogers started by giving a brief background on the establishment of the Agency. He said the NDMA was established by an Act of Parliament and was launched by His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio on the 19th November 2019 to effectively manage disasters and similar emergencies in Sierra Leone.

He said after Sierra Leone recorded major disasters like the 2017 mudslide and the 2015 flooding in Freetown that left over a thousand dead and hundreds displaced, the need to have a stand-alone Agency to manage disasters in the country was imminent. Fortunately, it was a manifesto promise of the President. After ascending the Presidency in 2018, he wasted no time in fulfilling his promise to establish the NDMA which also demonstrates Sierra Leone’s commitment to tackle climate change and its accompanying challenges.

Since its inception, Mr Rogers said the NDMA has recorded a total of 129 incidents of hazards/disasters from windstorms, fire and flooding; and the Agency has responded to 127 with an affected population of over 20,000 across the country.

Mr Rogers also pointed out that despite the significant successes recorded thus far, the Agency is seeking support and partnership with specific reference to capacity building and needed equipment. He said capacity building is imperative for the survival of the Agency and that there is an urgent need for disaster-related equipment to adequately position the Agency to embark on disaster risk reduction activities and effectively respond when they do occur.

Receiving the team, the Nigerian High Commissioner, Henry John Omaku, expressed his contentment and acknowledged the remarkable work of the NDMA particularly citing the timely response to the November 5th Wellington Inferno. However, the commissioner indicated that the Wellington fire incident also presented an array of challenges the NDMA and the National Fire Force (NFF) are faced with in responding to such incidents. He said the NFF needs a serious upgrade to effectively respond to fire incidents in the country.

Mr Omaku admonished that the team officially send in a request to NEMA through the embassy focusing mainly on capacity building within the disaster management spectrum and necessary equipment. He said his embassy will follow up to ensure the request is favourably honoured.

“It is possible to get some training opportunities in Nigeria for your staff with a view to improving the existing expertise of the Agency in disaster management and providing relevant tools needed to undertake disaster risk reduction activities, disaster risk communication and response.” He assured

Mr Omaku further noted that the significance of Disaster Management Agencies cannot be overemphasized because they directly deal with lives and properties. He said it is on this backdrop that he is committing himself to present a compelling case to his Government in Nigeria on behalf of the NDMA with the aim to improve on its capacity to adequately manage disaster-related issues in Sierra Leone.

The National Disaster Management Agency will continue to engage partners, both local and international, to mobilize the required resources, capacity building and collaborations to effectively manage disasters in the country.

For More Enquiries:
Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency
Contact: +23278388946
Email: mohamedlbah@ndma.gov.sl

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