National Disaster Coordinator satisfied with government programmes related to Disaster Risk Reduction

Prime Minister Timothy Harris (centre), with National Disaster Coordinator Abdias Samuel (right) and Chairman of NEMA District Seven Maurice Benjamin.
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Prime Minister Timothy Harris (centre), with National Disaster Coordinator Abdias Samuel (right) and Chairman of NEMA District Seven Maurice Benjamin.

Abdias Samuel, National Disaster Coordinator (NDC), is satisfied that the Harris-led Team Unity Administration’s programmes are in line with some of the seven global targets and four priorities areas of the Sendai Framework for Action to Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action. It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).

“Government programmes are in line with some of these targets,” Samuel said.  “One such example is priority 4, and the other is target ‘b’. Priority 4 points to enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to ‘Build Back Better’ (three Bs) in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.”

Comments by the National Disaster Coordinator for the Government’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) come in the wake of Team Unity Administration’s response to the needs of Euta Hodge, a homeowner in Molineux, whose home was destroyed after the passage of category five Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

Government responded by building a new house. Handing over keys to the furnished two-bedroomed house on Catholic Street Extension in Molineux to Hodge by Prime Minister Timothy Harris, who has responsibility for NEMA, was on Thursday April 25.

“Today, we are graciously celebrating on this occasion, a Government initiative in building resilience and adopting what in the disaster management discipline is called the three ‘Bs”, Building Back Better,” Samuel said.  “Often when a home is lost during a disastrous event, there is a psycho-social impact to the individuals affected; in particular, when challenged economically.”

According to the National Disaster Coordinator, the response of the government to the reconstruction and rehabilitation cycle is critical to the sustainability of a country, and he said that in the handing over of the new house to Euta Hodge, the country was witnessing one such responsible response to humanity by the government.

Samuel said that with the overall cost of damage by the two hurricanes at $117.2 million, the Team Unity Administration has done remarkably in disaster mitigation that included the offering of duty free concessions on building materials which is also in keeping with the Seven Global Targets of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Target (b) which points out to ‘substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015’.

“NEMA is supportive of the Government initiatives such as the roofing programmes which assisted homeowners who lost their roofs during the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” Samuel said. “This initiative helped these home owners regain a semblance of normalcy in their recovery efforts.”

In reference to Hodge, the National Disaster Coordinator said her distress call on September 6, 2017 between hours 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. was one of the first received by NEMA during the passage of Hurricane Irma.

“I wish to express gratification to the volunteer corps in District 7 led by Mr Maurice Benjamin and Mr Warren Thompson, whose invaluable leadership and commitment to nation building through community service are hallmark attributes that ought to be mirrored by all,” Samuel said.

Members of the NEMA Disaster Volunteer Corps in District Seven, who were all present at the house handing over ceremony, were Maurice Benjamin, Chairman; Warren Thompson, Deputy Chairman; Linden Brookes, Secretary; Manasses Huggins, the Public Relations Officer; and James Bradshaw, immediate past Chairman.

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