Freetown, October 13th, 2022 – The Government of Sierra Leone through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has joined the world to commemorate the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) with the theme: Substantially increase the availability of access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.
The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) was started in 1989 after the United Nations General Assembly called for a day to promote a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13th of October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
In conformity with Target G of the Sendai Framework, the NDMA localized this year’s commemoration by organizing risk-awareness events in Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Port Loko and Freetown through its regional offices targeting community volunteers, NGOs, INGOs, religious leaders and community stakeholders in those localities. The Resident Ministers made keynote addresses, while local council representatives also made meaningful contributions to enhancing an effective early warning system in Sierra Leone.
In the Western Region, the NDMA held its engagement at the Theresa Sesay Multi-Purpose Hall, Kennedy Street in Freetown where the Deputy Director-General, John Vandi Rogers, who doubled as the chairman said that Early Warning Systems had been recognized as an effective tool to reduce vulnerabilities and improve preparedness and response to natural and man-made hazards.
“Early warning systems help to reduce economic losses and mitigate the number of injuries or deaths from a disaster, by providing information that allows individuals and communities to protect their lives and property. Early warning information empowers people to take action when a disaster is close to happening.” He noted.
The NDMA Director of Risk Reduction & Preparedness (DRR&P), Thomas A. Lebbie pointed out that an early warning system is a set of capacities needed to generate and disseminate timely and meaningful warning information to enable individuals, communities and organizations threatened by a hazard to prepare and to act appropriately and in sufficient time to reduce the possibility of harm or loss.
Margaret Dauda, who represented the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) explained the significant support her institution has played in supporting the activities of the NDMA, especially in areas of risk reduction and community engagement.
“We have supported the NDMA to implement several projects of risk reduction, the establishment of chiefdom and district disaster management committees across the country, and community engagement in coastal communities. People must be made aware of what natural hazards they are likely to face in their own communities. They should know in advance what specific preparations to make before an event, what to do during a flood, fire, or other likely events, and what actions to take in its aftermath.” She stated.
In 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, the international community was reminded that disasters hit hardest at the local level with the potential to cause loss of life and great social and economic upheaval. Sudden onset disasters displace millions of people every year.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is people-focused and action-oriented in its approach to disaster risk reduction and applies to the risk of small-scale and large-scale disasters caused by man-made, or natural hazards, as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.
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National Disaster Management Agency