-says SLPP spokesperson
September 4, 2017 By Patrick J. Kamara
Publicity Secretary of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has charged that the Office of the National Security (ONS) ‘is very inefficient to manage disaster in the country’.
Retired Lieutenant Lahai Lawrence Leema told Concord Times in an interview that his party had suggested to government for a body independent of the ONS that would manage disaster related issues.
“There is no improvement on the part of ONS. They are very inefficient in disaster management. We have made a suggestion to the government to have a body separate from it, but to no avail,” he said.
Freetown experienced one of the worst flood related disasters on August 14, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless. Flooding was not unusual to Sierra Leone. It has been occurring in the past three years but proper mechanism has not been put in place to mitigate it.
According to him, responding to disaster after it has occurred was a reactive way of doing things and that his party questions the level of professionalism of the disaster management department.
He said government should put politics aside and develop policies to ensure people are evacuated from disaster prone areas before another one strike.
“ONS has been in this business for a while with no improvement and there has been occurrence of disasters one after the other and the effect continues to be the same. It is because we don’t have a specialised disaster management body. That is why the SLPP is calling for an independent and specialised disaster management body that would be proactive in preventing or minimising the impact of any natural disaster,” he noted.
Leema called on government to broaden the committee and get civil society organisations involved in the implementation and recovery process to enhance accountability and transparency.
He added that families of victims and survivors should equally be included so that they could offer advice to government that would meet their immediate needs.
“The government should broaden the committee and get CSOs involve in the implementation of whatever donations that are coming in, so as to enhance accountability, transparency in the dispensation of whatever proceeds that have been donated for the people affected by this catastrophe,” he said.
The SLPP spokesperson said they have also suggested for the government to embark on the erection of low cost housing so that people from disaster prone areas can occupy those houses.
The ONS Director of Disaster Management; John V. Rogers could not be reached for his reaction as his phone rang endlessly without response.