Occasions Resort, Lakka, Freetown, 1st April 2022 – GOAL Sierra Leone in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and Partners concluded a two-day simulation workshop to enhance the capacity of Agencies directly dealing with the management of disasters in the country.
The workshop brought together partners comprising Freetown City Council (FCC), National Commission for Persons with Disability, Save the Children, the National Fire Force, CONCERN SL, the Office of National Security and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. GOAL and the National Disaster Management Agency agreed to organize the Simulation Exercise (SIMEX) to promote a culture of enhanced prevention and preparedness amongst agencies, as called for by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The simulation workshop helped in preparing participating agencies and allow for stress-testing plans and systems. The workshop also focused on addressing the challenges faced during a crisis, ranging from coordination and security to administrative and technical difficulties. During the workshop, participants were divided into functional simulation groups, to fully simulate interactive exercises that test the capability of an organization to effectively respond to incidents.
At the end of the exercise, participants were able to understand how to raise an alert and activate an emergency response plan, initiate and conduct initial rapid needs assessments, initiate the coordination mechanism within the participating agencies and between different stakeholders, understand who are relevant stakeholders and their respective capacities, mandate, roles and responsibilities during a response.
The workshop also looked at inclusion and networking, where participants got to know each other and spent time together working on issues in a stressful but safe environment where effective collaboration and meaningful communication can be tested and trained, apply basic safeguarding, security and stress management procedures to apply when working with emergency teams, identify the international standards that should apply in preparing and implementing emergency response and be aware of existing resources in response, anticipatory action, early warning and early recovery.
Matthias Wahlfeil, Senior Humanitarian Advisor, GOAL SL, who facilitated the simulation workshop, said disaster risk is increasing. “Pressures on our climate and natural resources continue to grow. Climate change is increasing the risk of heavy rains, strong storms, rising sea levels, higher temperatures and extreme droughts. Unplanned urbanization is forcing the poorest and most vulnerable to live in hazardous locations”, he added.
Matthias Wahlfeil also noted that environmental degradation is exacerbating existing risk and creating new risk, saying the need for effective disaster risk management is greater than ever and demands a change in the mitigation mechanisms as agreed in the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction 2015‑2030.
NDMA’s Directors of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Communications represented the Agency and were very delighted to have participated in such a knowledge-sharing workshop on ideas and good practices of disaster risk reduction and relief response.
The Directors thanked GOAL SL for the initiative, stating that the workshop has broadened their knowledge in both disaster response and risk reduction, adding that such pieces of training are important pre-conditions in improving the technical skills of personnel, to improve operational and team management and to optimize coordination among disaster management actors.
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Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency