Monrovia, Liberia; September 12, 2023: UNDP in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has trained the County Disaster Management Committee (CDMC) and Artisanal and Small-scale Mining actors to assess disaster risks.
The training held September 4-6, 2023, in Tubmanburg, Bomi County brought together local officials, civil society organizations, and heads of government agencies from Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu Counties.
Speaking to participants, UNDP Liberia Energy and Environment Specialist Moses Massah, noted that the engagement was aimed at helping institutions and groups develop early warning systems and ensure communities understand the laws and policies developed to assess disaster risk management.
Massah said the training focused on identifying and managing disasters, and disaster-related issues across communities especially in mining areas.
"For the next three days, we will train you so that when you get back to your various counties and communities you will be able to identify and report disaster-related cases," he added.
He also spoke about plans to establish a regional disaster hub in Bomi which will serve four counties-Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, and lower Montserrado applauding the smooth working relationship with the Government of Liberia in managing disaster cases across Liberia since 2008 which led to the establishment of the National Disaster Management Agency of Liberia (NDMA).
"Currently we have brought in materials to be used at the regional hub in Bomi. These include laptops, computers, office furniture, and printers to be used for the smooth running of the hub. UNDP is happy to support the NDMA's training for the County Disaster Management Committees (CDMC) and artisanal and small-scale miners. Disaster risk management is an issue of concern considering the death rates and other forms of disasters coming from counties where artisanal and small-scale mines are located," Massah said.
Also speaking, the Assistant Minister for Planning at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Johnson Wallabo called on those engaged in artisanal mining to desist. Minister Willabo warned that the practice of artisanal mining across the country is one of the contributing factors to disaster cases in Liberia adding, that artisanal and small-scale mining is becoming serious because the miners are not taking precautions.
"The use of mercury and the long-term effects pose serious health risks to the miners. We want to encourage all those engaged in artisanal mining to stop because this method is posing serious risks of disasters in our communities," he stressed.
The Superintendent of Bomi County, Amos Cooper assured that the county authority will ensure the effective use of the hub as they work closely with the NDMA.
For his part, Henry Williams the Executive Director at the National Disaster Management Agency of Liberia, stressed that capacity training and coordination remain the fulcrum in managing disasters.
Williams disclosed that with the support from UNDP, his agency has constituted committees in the fifteen counties to work in reporting cases of disaster across Liberia. He mentioned UNDP's support to the NDMA's technical working group in developing the policy that led to the establishment of the agency.
"UNDP is supporting us to decentralize the agency. It has supported the development of the disaster policy and resilience strategy, the setting up of the Central Regional Hub in Bong County where they presented some office equipment, supported the renovation of NDMA's head office, and we are grateful for the level of support to this training considering that artisanal and small-scale mining has become an issue of concern with the levels of disasters being experienced," Williams emphasized.
The NDMA is a government entity that provides overall direction for integrating disaster risk reduction into development, recovery, and humanitarian response policy and plan which strengthens disaster preparedness for effective emergency and recovery response.