Rep. Tarponweh Calls For US$500K Natural Disaster Fund

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Rep. Tilberosa Summoh Tarponweh says now is the time for government to get prepared to defeat floods and other natural disaster crises the country is usually faced with.

Ahead of heavy down pour of rain which usually leads to flood in many parts of the country, Margibi County Electoral District #1 Representative, Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh has written the Plenary of the House calling for the establishment of a trust fund to be managed and used by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) during disaster emergency situations in the country.

In his letter dated May 7, 2019, copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, Rep. Tarponweh said while it is true and correct that the country is constrained in terms of budgetary support for its programs, the need to be prepared to save lives and properties does not call for sympathy but robust policies and actions that help to curtail or eliminate the problem.

“Mr. Speaker, distinguished fellow colleagues, I write to propose ways in which the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) should be strengthened to make it viable and efficient to timely respond to disasters, especially floods that have been occurring on an annual basis in several parts of our country,” he said in his letter.

He added: “Mr. Speaker and Distinguished Colleagues, this proposed support to the Disaster Management Trust Fund could be earmarked at five hundred thousand United States Dollars ($500,000 USD) for short term disaster response.

“This amount could be increased as other sources of income are identified within the national economy and through Public Private Partnership initiatives for a long term disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.”

Tarponweh’s letter came from the back ground that over the recent years, even before he became a Lawmaker in Margibi in 2017, hundreds, if not thousands of residents of his district and other parts of the county and the country at large have suffered great material losses and in some instances lives to flood.

“Mr. Speaker and Distinguished Colleagues, due to the devastating consequences of disasters that are becoming a regular and common occurrence within our borders especially floods and thunder storms, I passionately believe that the need to support the operationalization of the Disaster Management Trust Fund (DMTF) as provided for in the 2016 Act that created the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) cannot be overemphasized as people affected by disasters are usually in dire need of quick impact emergency relief to help them cope with their appalling situations in the short term,” he said.

He pointed out that the DMTF, if launched and becomes operational, will be an opportunity for donors to direct their contributions to deliver a strengthened and coherent response under a public private partnership scheme.

“It will also allow public and private actors including donors to pool their contributions to enable the delivery of Life-Saving assistance to the most affected people under the direct supervision of the Board of Directors of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA),” he said, adding “The DMFT will be a system in place by which a Presidential Declaration of Emergency will meet a criterion of funding and further trigger financial and other forms of assistance through the NDMA.”

The communication which was received by the Speaker of the 54th House of Legislature, Bhofal Chambers is expected to be turned over to the committee on national emergencies for careful perusal and subsequent determination of its passage into law or not.

Meanwhile, while his letter was undergoing discussion ahead of a Committee review, the Plenary of the House of Representatives concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) be invited before the Leadership of the Honorable House of Representatives on Monday, May 13, 2019.

“Mr. Speaker and Distinguished colleagues, as much as individual politicians are expected to render assistance to victims of flood and other forms of natural disaster, such assistance, as desirable as it may be, will not have much impact when compared to assistance that is derived from the collective will and resources of the State,” he said. “This is why, we, the Representatives of the people functioning under a sovereign State, must stand the moral high ground and be proactively involved to optimize natural disaster response and management with efficiency and humanity.”

It may be recalled that recently the Executive Director of , NDMA, Henry Williams, led a group of  his office staff as well as representatives from the EPA and the Ministry of Public Works to Margibi District #1 on an assessment tour at flood prone areas.

Mr. Williams’ visit was done when Rep. Tarponweh called on him and his partners to visit the flood prone towns, villages, as well as the main Robertsfield highway, which has been hit by flood in recent years, obstructing passage of vehicles commuting from and to the Roberts International Airport, Firestone and places beyond.

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