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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Columnist: Beeko, William

Dealing with disasters; NADMO should be proactive


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ARTICLE BY: WILLIAM BEEKO



As a concerned environmental journalist, I have been compelled to hit hard at

officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), by charging

them to be proactive.



NADMO officials, according to media reports, say they are ready to carry out

rescue operations and assist people who might fall victims to flooding as a

result of heavy rains.



The officials have hinted that they are collaborating with local authorities to

distil gutters to reduce flooding when the rains start.



“We are prepared [for any eventualities] in the sense that we did not anticipate

today’s rain, but we are planning towards the rain, so together with the

district assemblies we are trying to distil some choked gutters,” a NADMO

official is reported to have told Accra based radio station Joy FM

The response of the NADMO officials comes in the wake of the heavy down pour the

country recorded as its first rain in 2011 last week Thursday.



Though no casualties were recorded, a number of towns were flooded.

Reports say communities like Madina, Dome and the Trade Fair on the Spintex Road

all in Accra were hit by the floods.



See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?

As we are all aware, NADMO is responsible for the management of disasters and

other natural disaster situations.



Additionally, NADMO performs vital functions which include coordination of the

activities of various bodies in the management of disasters; rehabilitation of

persons affected by disasters; social mobilization, especially at the community

level, to support government programmes, such as the poverty reduction programme

as well as those aimed at the management of disasters.



NADMO also exists to ensure that the country is prepared to prevent disasters

and manage them well when they occur.



We have had several instances where floods have eaten up lives and properties in

this country and NADMO have had difficulties in dealing with the situation.

Previous cases of casualties reported to NADMO as a result of natural disasters

surprisingly are still pending rectification and compensations.

Methinks NADMO has not done much in terms of waging vigorous disaster management

campaigns in educating the public as well as throwing more light on what really

goes into compensation and how the organization distributes relief items.

I think it is high time the organization stepped up efforts to broaden the scope

of campaigns on what it stands for and how victims are treated in times of

disasters.



We only hear about NADMO when disaster strikes and its officials have always

come out to act when we record natural disasters where properties running into

millions of Ghana Cedis are destroyed.



In the news item I mentioned earlier, NADMO officials said they were prepared

for any eventualities and they were planning towards the rain, so together with

the district assemblies they would distil many of the choked gutters.

So for how long are we going to distil choked gutters and drains? Even where

these gutters are distilled, the filth and the heap of rubbish are usually left

by the road side unattended to. And when it rains again, all the filth is washed

back into the gutters and drains choking them in the process. Are we really

serious?

On relief items for victims of natural disasters like floods, I have had people

complaining to me on several occasions about the number of years they have been

chasing for their share of relief items.



“Every time you go to the regional and district offices, NADMO officials will

tell you in plain language that names of victims of natural disasters have been

written down and destroyed properties well noted but relief items were yet to be

moved from Accra to the town. This surely means that victims would have to wait

for some time.



You can decide not to go there for about a month and the next time you go there

to check on your relief items they have another story to tell. Your situation is

always likely to become worse when you don’t have their political colours on

your skin.

Under ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor’s immediate past administration of the

New Patriotic Party (NPP), my brother, the situation was worse. NPP activists

and sympathizers who were victims of flood disasters were given big packages and

special treat. The same policy is being applied under this current John Atta

Mills-led NDC administration,” a concerned anonymous NADMO staff indicated.

Mr. Kofi Portuphy, National Coordinator of NADMO, I would like to advise you to

act now or face the repercussions.

I rest my case…………..

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