The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) celebrated the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) in Monrovia last Tuesday.
The Day was held at the YMCA headquarters on Broad Street in collaboration with Comic Relief and Y-Care International, UK.
The program started with a street parade, followed by an engagement with stakeholders including the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).
Also playing a crucial role were the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), who acted as panellists discussing the risks in disasters, while raising awareness on the importance of disaster preparedness in Liberia.
The Day was held under the global theme, “Knowledge for Life.” Participants came from Slip Way and West Point communities, with officials from the Slum Dwellers Association of Liberia (SLUMDAL) also in attendance.
Mr. Edward Gboe, national general secretary of the YMCA, who welcomed and recognized special guests, called on the government and citizens to work together to reduce risks and exposures to manmade and natural disasters through effective national policies, and to increase local knowledge and actions.
“We are aware of risks to our lives and properties as a result of disasters. Your communities experience different forms of disasters, some manmade and some natural,’’ said Gboe.
“We need to see actions by our government, communities and partners in the effort to implement policies and programs that will guide us in how we conduct our activities in an environmentally friendly way.’’
In their panel discussions, the director general of the Liberian Fire Service (LNFS), Warsuwah Barvoul, cautioned community dwellers to avoid building on alleyways, and warned parents to stop keeping gasoline and other combustible materials in their homes.
Mr. Barvoul spoke on the inaccessibility of fire officers in getting to slum communities during fire disasters in the exercise of their mandates. He further encouraged citizens and the government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities.
Other panellists who formed part of the discussion were Augustine Kollie, National Technical Assistant at MIA and Nyenetue Romeo, UN Resident Coordinator.
They challenged slum dwellers to take the lead in mitigating some of the challenges that pose risks to their lives as a result of fire disasters.
The program also raised awareness on the use of traditional and local knowledge and practices to complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk management.