Armed Forces Technical Center, Wilberforce, Freetown, 1st February 2023 — The Directorate of Relief and Response of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has concluded a two-day humanitarian relief and response training for partner organizations such as the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS), World Vision, Caritas, Goal SL, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), and Community Volunteers.
The training focused on enhancing the participants’ understanding of NDMA’s mandate, structures, functions and operations as they relate to relief and response; and also touched on the overview of disaster management in Sierra Leone, the necessity to understand the basic disaster terminologies while communicating, NDMA’s relief and response policy, disaster report writing, the significance of Sierra Leone Incident Management System (SLIMS), and the use of the Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment Tool (MIRA Tool).
In his opening statement, NDMA’s Director of Relief and Response, Sinneh Mansaray underscored that the training will build the capacity of key partners and community volunteers on humanitarian relief and response activities such as search and rescue, incident assessment, report writing, use of beneficiary administration tools, and standard operating procedures on relief and response interventions.
“Partners and volunteers contribute enormously to the work we do at the NDMA. As an agency, building their capacity will not only enable them to support us seamlessly do our job but will also develop their knowledge and skills in the field of disaster management for potential employment opportunities. We have also realized that most partners and volunteers have challenges administering incident/disaster assessment tools, which makes the training timely and important.” He commented.
Deputy Director General, NDMA, John Vandi Rogers spoke on the importance of disaster accountability and integrity, and the need to implement lessons learnt in the field.
“I want you to put disaster accountability and integrity at the centre of your work. This means being accountable for the work you do, reports you write, assessments you conduct and response you make. Because including wrong persons and excluding victims in any of the process will alter data and affect informed decisions.” He said.
NDMA’s Deputy Director of Relief & Response, Morlu Brewah highlighted the global and national trends of disasters. He tutored on the causes of disasters which include: inclement weather, climate change, unplanned urbanization, bad agricultural practices, poverty, unplanned development on hill tops, epidemics, etc. He further said that deaths associated with disasters, across the globe, are estimated above 10 Million yearly and the loss of livelihoods and food insecurity has pushed more people into poverty.
“Disasters have pushed more people at the bottom of the poverty circle and the only solution is to put more emphasis on risk reduction activities.” He stated.
Mr Brewah also disclosed that his directorate has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which guides the humanitarian response process across the country. According to him, the SOPs not only aim at ensuring efficient and equitable distribution of relief items, but also focus on providing clear guidance in the identification and registration of disaster victims and equally improve joint coordination with partners.
He concluded by sharing the current stats of NDMA’s response interventions. He said as of January 31st 2023, the NDMA has responded to a total population size of 50,575 in 291 response activities within 16 districts and 53 chiefdoms in Sierra Leone. He furthered that the responses have positively impacted 10,268 households, 715 injured victims, 3,316 landlords, 102 public facilities; and the direct cash transfers to 235 victims.
Madam Isatu Mansaray, a representative of Caritas Freetown, thanked the NDMA for organizing such an impactful capacity-building training and commits, on behalf of the participants, to practicalize the knowledge gained in future interventions.