High-Level Disaster Response Meeting Convenes in Monrovia

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The Government of the United States of America, through its Embassy in Monrovia, has pledged its continued support in fighting the deadly Ebola disease that threatens post-war Liberia.

U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, gave the assurance to delegates at the opening of the High-Level Disaster Preparedness and Response meeting hosted Tuesday, April 8, at a resort in Monrovia.

Tuesday’s meeting was hosted by the Government of Liberian (GOL), and organized by the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) with support from the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM).

The purpose of the meeting, Ambassador Malac said, was to enable stakeholders and decision makers to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that are likely to arise during a disaster, as well as to identify gaps and assess the need for modifying Liberia’s disaster management plans, policies, and procedures.

She disclosed among other things that an innovative collaboration between the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) and AFRICOM helped lay the foundation for Tuesday’s event.  

“As you have seen over the past weeks, the United States and other donors and international organizations are coming to the aid of Liberia and other West African countries to manage the serious Ebola outbreak.”

According to the U.S. Envoy, United States and Liberia’s other partners are ready and willing to ensure that the country is prepared to meet any natural disaster or pandemic.

In that connection, the U.S. diplomat encouraged all stakeholders at the meeting to take advantage of Tuesday’s gathering to build on the progress already made.s The information presented is expected to provide guidance for the structuring of a National Disaster Relief Commission (NDRC) and a Disaster Management Agency (DMA).

urged consideration of how government ministries, agencies, and other stakeholders can work together to coordinate the government’s response to a major disaster, and then identify what further actions or steps could be taken to improve the ability of the GOL to effectively manage disasters.

Ambassador Malac then urged stakeholders in attendance to continue using Tuesday's meeting agenda to build closer regional ties within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), especially with their colleagues from Ghana and Nigeria.

Tuesday’s disaster response meeting examined the issues associated with governance and organizational structures, as well as Liberia's capacity to manage disasters.

It also reviewed the GOL's national disaster capacities and authority to respond to a major national, regional or global disaster event.

Participants included an array of senior Liberian officials, among them, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Sr., newly appointeAFL C the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) headed by Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr.  

At the end of the meeting, a closed-door review and discussion session was conducted to summarize the recommendations and suggested improvements to enhance Liberia's disaster management capacities.  

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