YESTERDAY, REPRESENTATIVES FROM Ghana and Nigeria joined their Liberian counterparts at a one-day United States Africa Command organized meeting to address government’s high level disaster management plans, policies and procedures as well as its adequacy to respond to major local, regional and global disaster.
THE EVENT WHICH targeted the examination of the country’s preparedness and response to disaster was officially opened by Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph Boakai who admitted that the country’s preparedness for disaster is currently low and that all stakeholders should bear in mind that national disaster preparedness must begin with the host.
HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT Liberia has a long way to go in placing disaster management systems on par with other sisterly states in the West African region but added that the better prepared a nation is can effectively guide the efforts of those who come to assist.
VP BOAKAI OBSERVED that the meeting’s discussion should organize search for more innovative ways to strengthen and raise the level of the country’s disaster management because disaster is not a ‘maybe’; it is sure and only requires time.
WE WELCOME THE government’s high level disaster response meeting and look forward to the implementation of the expectation which among other things should address gaps in the Liberian government’s organizational structure in regards to disaster management.
IT IS NO secret that the latest epidemic which is taking a toll in the sub-region, the Ebola virus, is a serious disaster that needs collective attention because as the Vice President said ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.’
WE SEE THE regional move as a good start to manage disaster as we prepare for its response and urge the government to ignite the will power to take action and implement the existing policies. We are all aware that there can be no preparation on disaster in the absence of resources and technical support.
WE ALSO SALUTE ECOWAS as well as the United States Government through its Embassy in Monrovia on whose shared knowledge and experience this meeting whose agenda discussed ECOWAS policy and guidelines, disaster response management and reviewed recommendations as well as suggestions to improve the disaster management capabilities of our country.
IT IS OUR fervent hope that the national stakeholders will begin to tackle issues with sincerity and address national issues as recommendations are made instead of just stock piling recommendations and national policies without visible outcome of its implementation.