Kailahun Town, Luawa Chiefdom, Kailahun District, Tuesday 31st May, 2022 — The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday commenced the establishment and training of Chiefdom Disaster Management Committees (CDMCs) in sixteen (16) chiefdoms in Kailahun and Port Loko Districts.
The establishment and training of the CDMCs is in fulfilment of NDMA’s core mandate as enshrined in Part V (5) of the National Disaster Management Act, 2020 which provides for the establishment of a national, regional, district and chiefdom disaster management committees for the prevention and management of disasters and similar emergencies throughout Sierra Leone.
The CDMC’s membership in each chiefdom comprises various stakeholders such as the Paramount Chief who should serves as chairman, the NDMA Chiefdom Coordinator as Secretary, the Member of Parliament of the Constituency, the Community Health Officer, the RSLAF Company Commander, the P Officer-in-Charge, the Office of National Security Chiefdom Security Coordinator, the Chiefdom Youth Chairman, One Councillor nominated by the District Chairman of the Council, a representative from the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and a representative of a Civil Society Organization with specialty in disaster management and environmental issues.
The training/engagement in Kailahun attracted participants like Paramount Chiefs, the Kailahun District Council Chairman, Okada Riders, Market Women, Youth Groups, Teachers, Traditional Leaders, Women’s leaders and others.
The training which is being funded by the UNDP is in line with NDMA’s continued effort to building the capacity of the most vulnerable communities in order to enhance the conduct of assessment, risk mapping, hazard profiling, development of contingency plans, early warning of hazards, vulnerability assessment and risk communication of chiefdoms through the collaborative involvement of various community stakeholders.
The training will additionally position the Chiefdom Disaster Management Committees to strengthen community resilience and ensure a reduction in the occurrence of natural disasters and other similar emergencies within their various chiefdoms respectively.
There are Eight (8) selected chiefdoms in each of the two (2) districts. For Kailahun District the chiefdoms include Luawa, Upper Bambara, Mandu, Malema, Jawei, Jaluahun, Penge Bongri and Penge West. The selected chiefdom in Port Loko District are Bakeh Loko, Maforki, Kamasondo, Lokomasama, Kaffu Bullum, Marampa, Koya and Bureh.
According to the Director of Risk Reduction & Preparedness, Thomas A. Lebbie, the training is very important because risk knowledge in disaster management has a lot to do with self awareness and once individuals and communities are aware of what they are prone to, they can be in a better position to put systems in place for the prevention and mitigation of disaster in their chiefdoms.
“We came to Kailahun District especially because one of our major partners[UNDP] supported us to decentralize the NDMA to District and Chiefdom Level. All over the country, we have established the District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs) and now we have moved to Chiefdom Level. Since 2021, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has supported and funded the establishment and training of several Chiefdom Disaster Management Committees”, Director Lebbie added.
Outstanding presentation was made by the UNDP representative, Mrs. Margarette Dauda who expressed delight for the strategic partnership between NDMA and UNDP. She said that the chiefdoms were carefully selected by senior staff of both institutions.
The Honourable Member of Parliament for Constituency 004 in Kailahun District, Hon. Sarty Banya, who happens to be a member of the Kailahun CDMC, shared his experience on climate change, natural and human disasters. “I have come here to encourage you all to support government’s policy on climate change and disasters.
“We have seen the consequences, impacts and effects of deforestation, bush burning, sea banking and sand mining. Had it not been for the prompt intervention of NDMA’s risk reduction awareness and swift relief responses to affected victims, a lot of people in this constituency that were affected by the windstorms and fire incident should have been totally helpless. This is why we need to stop the cutting down of trees, burning of bushes and illegal timber logging”, he stated.
The Paramount Chief of Luawa Chiefdom, Kailahun District, Mohamed Kailondo Banya IV, commented on the need for more training and support. “I am very happy for this training. Now that we have been taught on how to manage hazards and assess risks, I am appealing for more trainings in order to train our people for correct information dissemination”.
The National Disaster Management Agency will continue to update the public on the establishment of CDMCs in other chiefdoms in coming weeks.