The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in partnership with Bournemouth University (BU) has launched a research document titled: ‘Evaluating Local Disaster Management in Sierra Leone (EVALDIS) Report 2023’ to enhance effective management of disasters at the local level in Sierra Leone.
Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Disaster Management at BU, Professor John Lee Miles said the aim of the EVALDIS report is to present key findings and evidence drawn from extensive research involving actors and participants from across Sierra Leone that can further improve disaster management at the sub-national level.
He said the use of the term ‘subnational’ is incorporated into the specific title of the final report as ‘Improving Subnational Disaster Management in Sierra Leone’ because it reflects the fact that the report covered aspects pertaining to disaster management affecting the country’s provinces, districts, as well as wards/local communities.
“EVALDIS represents one of the most comprehensive recent studies of Subnational Disaster Management in Sierra Leone since it’s fully engaged with not just national, provincial and district policymakers, but also the local communities of Freetown covering over 1.2 million people,” he added.
Prior to the EVALDIS report, Prof. John Lee Miles undertook another research work titled: “Driving African Capacity-Building in Disaster Management” (AFRICAB) which was launched in 2021 that focused on identifying “Single Points of Failures” (SPOF) as they relate to disaster prevention, mitigation, response and recovery specifically in Sierra Leone but can also be applied in the wider context of African disaster management.
The EVALDIS report seeks to provide answers to the questions that were unanswered in the AFRICAB-SPOF report.
“It is important to note that some questions were left unanswered following the development and launch of the SPOF in 2021. A cautious evaluation of the missing link in the SPOF shows an anathema of problems that affect communities in disaster management. The researchers examined the problems and have come out with suggested lines of actions and measures that will help guide communities in their human and environmental protection,” he disclosed.
NDMA’s Director General, Lit. Gen. (Rtd) Brima Sesay said the focus of the EVALDIS report is geared towards helping to improve subnational disaster management in Sierra Leone, which is timely and appropriate for the work of the NDMA.
The DG continued that the NDMA Act of 2020 gave twenty-two (22) responsibilities to the Agency to conduct research on matters relating to disasters and emergencies in Sierra Leone, which has led to the partnership with Bournemouth University and the provision of the two documents that will provide answers to some of the challenges in managing disaster-related matters in Sierra Leone.
“As part of our mandate, the NDMA has a strategic partnership with Bournemouth University, and we stand upon that platform to conduct rigorous research exercises now and in the future in relation to disaster risk mitigation. The work of Professor Miles on addressing resolvable Single Points of Failures has helped numerous policy innovations coordinated by the Agency, including, for example, the revised National Standard Operating Procedures for Relief and Response in 2022 and the development of the Agency’s first-ever Service Charter in 2023,” he explained.
It is important to note that at the launch of the NDMA on the 19th of November 2020, His Excellency the President underscored the need to use science and technology in the provision of effective service delivery. The Agency has been using drone technology and the Multi-Sectoral Inter-Agency Tool (MIRA Tool) in data collection, analysis and interpretation.
The outcome of the EVALDIS document is the result of the blend of all the above that have contributed in no small measure towards knowledge management by the Agency.
Representing the Chief Minister as Guest of Honour, Ing. Monica Kamara noted that local disasters hinder the development and progress of any country. She said the monies government uses to respond to disasters is substantial, which could be used to address other pressing social needs in the Country. She said preventing local disasters will enhance socio-economic development.
“Disasters can negatively affect the achievement of development goals and people’s health, lives, property and their environment. The impact of disasters is directly related to their severity and the level of vulnerability of individuals and communities,” she added.
The EVALDIS report encapsulates 62 recommendations. NDMA’s Director General expressed a strong commitment to implement some of the key recommendations to address the thematic issues and challenges in the management of disasters in Sierra Leone.