Liberia Heads Group on Disaster Risk Reduction

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Liberia has been elected as Africa’s representative on the African Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has announced. Liberia’s election is part of efforts to reduce disasters in Liberia and Africa at large.
The high level meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction issued that the Yaounde Declaration request the Africa Union (AU) to lead Africa’s strategies with the targets outlined in Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. It was endorsed last month by the United Nations General Assembly.
At a press conference yesterday in Monrovia, Deputy Minister for Administration, Varney A. Sirleaf, explained that the participants agreed to work together to achieve substantial reduction in disaster losses over the next 15 years.
Minister Sirleaf said the international group will also work to reduce mortality, numbers of people affected and the economic damage caused by natural and human-induced hazards.
He noted that focusing or eliminating disaster risk is crucial for the economic and social development of all African nations.
And because of that, he promised to ensure that Liberia remains one of the leading countries with good disaster control and management state.
“Africa has suffered 131 droughts over the last 20 years and has also seen a sharp rise in other climate-related disasters, including floods, storms and heat waves.
Last year, over 6.8 million Africans were affected by 114 major reported disasters,” Minister Sirleaf disclosed.
He stressed that Africa is the first continent to meet specifically to discuss how to achieve the targets of the Sendai Framework, adopted in March at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
“The head of the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlstrom, said the gathering signifies that Africa is setting the pace for the post-2015 Development Agenda through its clear statement of high-level commitment at the conference to achieve substantial reductions in disaster losses.”
The Sendai Framework calls for a change in emphasis from managing disaster risk, which is critical in a region where floods and storms are the main cause of recurring damage to schools, hospitals and other health facilities, Varney explained.
He urged Liberians to circumvent building in a reservoir, describing the act as one of the ways of encountering floods, particularly the swampland that we continue to build houses on.

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