NDMA Conference Room, Aberdeen, Freetown, Thursday 6th January 2022 – Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, has started the new year with renewed vitality in providing effective oversight over Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) under his ward; the visit to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) craves to obtain a first-hand update on the Agency’s operation, its activities last year and plans for the year 2022 in the overall management of Disasters in Sierra Leone.
Welcoming the Chief Minister, the Director of Communications, NDMA, Mohamed L. Bah, said the NDMA was privileged to receive the Chief Minister and acknowledged the significance of his role in establishing the NDMA as a stand-alone Agency. The Director-General, NDMA, Lit. Gen. (Rtd) Brima Sesay, started by expressing his profound gratitude to the Chief Minister for the strategic leadership and policy directives he has been providing in ensuring the NDMA is well placed and resourced to effectively and efficiently manage disaster relater occurrences and also increase the resilience of prone community across the country.
The DG also thanked the Chief Minister for the support rendered in making sure that the NDMA held its first-ever retreat in Bo City in November 2021 to discuss and ratify three (3) strategic documents (Strategic Plan, Financial Manual and the Human Resources Manual). He said this was critical in outlining clearly defined roles and responsibilities of staff members and providing strategic direction for the operations of the Agency.
The DG furthered that the NDMA has covered all facets of disaster management in the Country ranging from Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Relief and Response, Recovery and Strategic Communications since NDMA’s inception on the 19th November 2019.NDMA has made significant progress in handling logistical challenges, citing that NDMA now has one warehouse in Port Loko and is currently using the facilities of Military Barracks to pre-position relief items and easy access in responding to disasters, especially in the provinces.
The Deputy Director-General, NDMA, John Vandy Rogers, did an excellent PowerPoint presentation that captured the remarkable achievements of the Agency in 2021 and the calendar of activities for the years ahead. The presentation also focused on specific national documents upon which the NDMA has aligned its disaster mitigation strategy. The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) 2018 manifesto (5.6), which deals with Improving Environmental Management, the country’s National Development Plan (Cluster 7.3 and 7.5) that focuses on Climate Action, Life Below Water and Life on Land, and the National Disaster Management Act of 2020 which establishes the NDMA.
According to the DDG, the above documents are in tandem with the internal strategies devised by the Directorate of Risk Reduction and Preparedness to ensure the Agency does not only respond to disasters but also focus its attention on disaster mitigation and increase the resilience of prone communities. He also noted, the Agency is now using drone technology to assess and profile risk zones and communities for further action. The DDG concluded by intimating the Chief Minister that NDMA, through its Directorate of relief and Response, has responded to 99 incidents out of 127 including, Houses and Public Facilities and supported a total population of 20,013 affected across the country.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Minister expressed his sincere gratitude to the management team of NDMA for providing the required leadership in responding to some of the worse disasters the country has ever had with specific reference to the November 5 Wellington Inferno and described the Agency as being amongst the fastest growing in the country. The result-Oriented Chief Minister assured that Government is committed to supporting the NDMA in sourcing funds both internal and external to enhance the performance of the Agency in reducing the occurrences of disasters to its lowest ebb.
He continued: “The President, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has this Agency close to his heart. As a Government, we divorced the NDMA from the Office of National Security because we wanted to prepare the country to effectively manage climate change and its accompanying challenges. We are a signatory to the SENDAI FRAMEWORK, which provides global leadership on the prevention and management of disasters across the world, establishing the NDMA exhibits a firm determination as a country; to contribute in the management of climate change in Sierra Leone”. He noted.
The Chief Minister also urged that the Agency should start to institutionalize its structures, focus on capacity and competence building within the broad spectrum of the Agency, develop simple and clear early warning systems to update the public on possible hazards that will lead to disasters and enhance the capacity to identify disaster-prone areas and take necessary steps to avert potential dangers.
Professor Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis and Disaster Management, Bournemouth University, joined the meeting via Zoom and did a presentation on a research document titled: SINGLE POINTS OF FAILURE, which identified 12 critical challenges in the management of disasters in Sierra Leone. The Chief Minister concluded by assuring the NDMA management that the challenges identified in the presentation will be looked at and urgent steps would be taken to address the most important ones. He also encouraged Professor Miles to develop a proposal on their recommendations for the attention of the Government and donor partners.
For More Information:
Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency