Scale up disaster risk reduction effort – Minister

DisasterThe Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. John Alexander Ackon, has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to scale-up the disaster risk reduction effort, particularly, in the urban areas.

He said the steady drift of people to these centres, required that they moved to properly plan and manage things to minimize disasters.

He was speaking at the opening of a two-day urban resilience conference for local authorities held at Femesua near Kumasi.

The goal was to discuss mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction through inclusive planning and effective coordination at the local level.

It was held under the theme, “Opportunities and challenges for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction through inclusive planning and effective coordination”.

The programme was organized by the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.

On hand to participate were representatives from the MMDAs, NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Water Resources Commission (WRC), Town and Country Planning Department, the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry and academia.

Mr. Ackon indicated that about 52 per cent of the nation’s population as of 2010 lived in the urban areas and the projection was that the figure could hit 72 per cent by 2035.

He said “epidemics, fires, floods, food insecurity, traffic accidents among others are constant incidents that need to be addressed relative to our urban resilience and disaster risk reduction frameworks”.

He identified the lack of enforcement of land use plans, absence of local level disaster contingency plans and limited involvement of communities in development planning as some of the challenges that must be tackled.        

Dr. Dominic Sam, Country Director of the UNDP, said the threat of natural and human-induced disasters could potentially undermine development gains, citing the June 03, last year, disaster as how disasters’ could wreak havoc on society.  

He pointed to the effects of climate change, the deficiencies in the planning processes and infrastructure development standards and said these were factors that needed to be dealt with.   

He pledged the UNDP’s determination to continue to partner government in its effort to reduce disasters in urban communities, adding that, it had been providing technical support in disaster risk reduction since 2005.

Source: GNA

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