NDMA Headquarters, Aberdeen, Wednesday 28th September 2022 – The National Disaster Management Agency through its Directorate of Communications has engaged Social Media Bloggers on Disaster Risk Communications and strides made in mitigating disasters across the country.
The engagement was geared towards establishing collaboration with bloggers who will use tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to propagate NDMA’s activities and warnings in real-time. NDMA also believes that Social media bloggers will help emergency institutions and volunteers to be more efficient in their risk reduction activities by becoming online volunteers on social media platforms for risk and crisis communication, where people contribute online.
Speaking at the engagement, the NDMA Director of Communication, Mohamed L. Bah stated the engagement would enhance the capacity of the bloggers on disaster risk communication as they create, share and moderate discussions on disaster topics on their various platforms.
“This engagement is to enhance your capacity in risk communication; help you understand the disaster management cycle and terminologies, and put you in a better position to report and moderate issues hovering around disaster matters in the country.” He stated.
Furthermore, Director Bah requested more visibility of credible disaster information and disseminate it on various social media and online platforms. He also intimated the bloggers that the Agency has undertaken more disaster risk reduction activities than providing relief support to affected victims. He used Susan’s Bay and Moa Wharf Communities as a justification for the above and pointed out that illegal human activities are the major causes of disaster in the country.
He continued: “Effective disaster risk communication is critical for ordinary people to understand the different types of risk they face and what can be done to manage those risks. In achieving a seamless flow of credible information and dissemination, Social Media Bloggers are very important in providing accurate and timely risk information to the public, especially those in prone areas.”
As part of its mandate to manage disasters and similar emergencies throughout Sierra Leone, Section 2 of Part III of the NDMA Act of 2020 makes provision for the Agency to disseminate information and conduct public education on human activities that are most likely to cause disasters in Sierra Leone.
Disaster risk communication continues to be an important component of disaster risk management for the NDMA to help shape people’s perceptions of risks and influence their actions with respect to disaster preparedness and disaster response. It also influences the decisions that are made throughout the disaster management cycle.
In her presentation, the NDMA Deputy Director of Communication, Mrs Philomina I. Turay explained about Early Warning System. She said early warning systems are means by which people receive relevant and timely risk information prior to a disaster in order to make informed decisions and act. She further went on to state that an early warning system is an adaptive measure for climate change, using integrated communication systems to help communities prepare for hazardous climate-related events.
“A successful early warning system saves lives and jobs, land and Infrastructure and supports long-term sustainability.” She noted
The Director of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Thomas Lebbie said disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters. He also noted that investing in disaster risk reduction saves lives and property. That’s why the NDMA has concentrated a chunk of its budget on disaster risk reduction activities.
“Investments in disaster risk reduction will not only curb disaster losses, but it will also yield economic, social and environmental benefits that enhance the well-being and resilience of prone communities.” He said
On their side, the bloggers committed themselves to supporting the NDMA by using their platforms to disseminate news items, raise awareness and educate their audience on disaster risk reduction, pointing out human-induced hazards perpetrated by individuals within communities and drawing NDMA’s attention to those activities for intervention.
The NDMA is responsible for providing clear information to the public about hazards and what actions can be taken at the household, community and government levels to reduce the risk of disaster and respond when it eventually occurs. It is in this regard that the social media bloggers, who can set the agenda for critical national discussions, disseminate information and use their platforms to share ideas, were summoned for the engagement.
For More Enquiries:
Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency