…As the rains set in
Hon. Ernest Henry Norgbey, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman Constituency, has called for logistical support for the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to tackle disasters as the rainy season sets in.
According to him, the organization’s effort to fulfil its primary mandate remained a challenge, raising doubt of its preparedness towards the management of disasters.
The June 3, 2015 floods in Accra remain the harshest spinoffs of disaster in the country’s history, as it killed over 150 persons and displaced hundreds of residents along the Odaw River in the Accra metropolis.
NADMO, which has been mandated as the institution to manage disasters and also provide relief to victims has over the years been saddled with logistics and materials challenge to operate efficiently.
However, in an interview with The Republic after a statement on the floor of parliament in remembrance of the June 3 twin-disaster, Hon. Norgbey said, “ The June 3, 2015, disaster is two years, it will forever be talked about, not because we enjoy talking, rather the nation was hit hard by the magnitude of that disaster.”
He continued, “Ghana lost about 200 people; several individuals who survived the flood-fire disaster lost their homes and properties. Widows, widowers and orphans were on the rise, the entire nation was engulfed in grief.”
Up till date, the MP said, the nation cannot even ascertain the exact figure because days after the disaster, dead bodies, some burnt beyond recognition, were found in drains and sewers, stating, “it was such a horrific incident.”
Mr. Norgbey recounted that, as a discerning nation we have drawn lessons from other related disasters such as the May 9, 2001 stampede at Accra sports stadium, which was poorly managed, the Melcom disaster which saw the importation of sniffer dogs from Israel to rescue victims; the annual spillage of the Bagre Dam which years on end cause floods and from the June 3 flood-fire disaster.
Following that, he said Parliament on July 28, 2016, passed the NADMO new bill and later assented by the President to become NADMO Act 927.
The NADMO Act 927, he said, among other things, grants the organisation 3% share of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to be paid into the Disaster Fund and in addition grants the organisation some powers that will help in its functions.
He told the paper that, despite the fact that the NADMO Bill has been passed into law, the act is still not being implemented for no apparent reason.
“The rains, its associated floods and accompanied risks are here again; however the new Act is yet to be fully implemented,” he lamented.
He expressed worry that, institutions that have been charged to provide disaster management emergency response, particularly NADMO, will once again mix and miss the point and come up with all manner of excuses because the organisation has not seen the full implementation of the new Act.
Touching on challenges facing the organization, he said NADMO has a solid structure which when adequately resourced can support not only victims of disaster but also complement the nation’s efforts in fighting the galamsey menace, reconstruction of our lands and water bodies, as well as create employment for the teeming unemployed youth of this country.
“Another major challenge faced by NADMO is the allocation of adequate budget to the organisation. The budgetary allocation of the organisation is always slashed such that by the time it travels from the offices of the national, regional through to the district and to the zonal levels, the allocation cannot be used to run any projected activity,” he stated.
The MP added that, a lot of district and zonal staff have no offices to operate from, saying, currently NADMO owes suppliers over GHc35million, inadequate logistics for effective and timely response to disasters, unpaid salary arrears, and the challenges are overwhelming.
Mr. Norgbey therefore called for logistical support for NADMO, to withstand any form of disaster squarely, as well as formulate other policies of national interest, stating, ” it should be armed with the expertise to do more than just distribute relief items in the event of a disaster.”
The June 3, twin fire-and-flood disaster at the Goil filing station, near Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, remains one of the harshest spinoffs of climate change in sub-Saharan Africa.
The evening downpour water flow from drains of the eastern and northern part from Accra led to an unprecedented overflow of many gutters and the Odaw River, especially, hundreds of kilometers of the urban city roads and streets of Accra were inundated by flood.
According to the Post-Disaster Assessment Report of the NADMO and the Ghana National Fire Services (GNFS), 150 lives were lost, thousands of livestock drowned, over two million people displaced and millions worth of properties and economic means washed off.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba