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Regional News of Thursday, 8 October 2009

Source: GNA

Upper East Disaster Platform Committee Inaugurated

Bolgatanga, Oct. 8, GNA - The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in conjunction with the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) has inaugurated a 30 member disaster platform committee to, among other things, take charge of disaster risk reduction activities in the region.

Chaired by the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, the committee would also draw up strategies to pre-empt the possible occurrence of disasters in the region. It would further structure programmes to include early warning signs in detecting disaster prone areas and outlining rescue operations to handle them. In addition, it would identify causes, effects and preventive measures to deal with climate change as a development challenge, as well as educate members of the public on the need to desist from negative activities such as deforestation, bush burning, sand wining and the construction of buildings on water ways which have the potential to cause disasters.

In an address read for him, Mr. Woyongo said the committee is a constitutional body created under section 13 (2) of Act 517 of 1996 to handle disaster related issues, adding that it allows for the co-option of additional members with expertise in that area. Mr. Woyongo asked members of the committee to work hard and provide positive results to ensure that disaster related issues affecting the region were nibbed in the bud.

Mr Woyongo said if the dream of the platform committee is achieved, it would reduce the perennial disaster that confronts the region and mitigate the effects on disaster victims. Mr Kofi Portuphy, national Co-ordinator of NADMO, indicated that government was committed to developing the three northern regions to bridge the gap between that part of the country and the southern sector. This vision, he said, could be achieved if the committee handles disaster issues with utmost care.

Mr. Portuphy disclosed that a number of agricultural programmes would be undertaken in the region to empower the people economically, and that there would be the need to trap water from neighbouring Burkina Faso and develop dams for agricultural activities during the dry season. Naba Baba Salifu Alemyaaron, Paramount Chief of Bongo Traditional Area who chaired the function, appealed to members of the committee not to politicize the platform but work together as a team to achieve the set objectives.

He urged NADMO to engage the youth in tree planting to serve a dual purpose of afforestation and job creation. A day's orientation workshop would be held to sensitise members of the committee on disaster management and related activities to give them an insight into the concept.