The National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr. George Isaac Amoo has appealed to government and international organisations to provide appropriate structures and resources to help manage and prevent disasters.
“Due to lack of appropriate structures at the zonal or community levels, disaster management has so far been weakest at the institutional and community levels where the functions of disaster management should rather be most effective”, he said.
NADMO was established to take charge of various areas affected by disasters and emergencies, but it lacks resources and international support to function effectively.
“It has not been able to attract adequate and timely international support during emergencies”, the coordinator noted.
Mr. Amoo said national disasters are of such magnitude that require the deployment of all national resources and assistance from the international community in the areas of search and rescue, mitigation and post disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Mr. Amoo, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of Exercise Ahoboa (Preparedness) 2007 in Accra, said the programme was to test NADMO and other stakeholders' preparedness towards earthquake disaster management in Ghana. These agencies included the British High Commission, NADMO, Ghana Armed Forces, Government Departments, United Nations, International Organisations, Non Governmental Organisations, Police and Fire Service, Health, Utilities Service and Private Sectors.
He announced that every year, more than 200 million people worldwide are affected by disasters such as droughts, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis and advised that various measures should be put in place to manage and control these disasters.
A National Disaster Fund, he said, has been proposed to augment governmental budgetary funding and ensure prompt and timely relief services to affected communities and victims in times of emergencies.
An amendment bill has also been proposed to establish a national platform for disaster management and an enhanced data and information gathering for sustainable development.
He emphasized the need to prepare for disasters before they occur. “Being prepared, including factoring disaster risk reduction into development at all levels of society would enable people to become more resilient to natural hazards”, he said.
Mr. Amoo said preparedness exercise such as the development and regular testing of contingency plans, establishment of emergency funds to support emergency response, recovery and relief activities and development of coordinated regional approaches for effective disaster response would help manage disasters and emergencies.
He said continuous communication among response agencies, planners and policy makers would also play a vital role.
NADMO, he gave the assurance, would always adopt effective disaster management mechanisms to help treat affected victims.