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We must produce the disaster plan report

BY: Daily Graphic

Disasters are sudden accidents or natural catastrophes that cause great damage to properties and results in loss of lives.

They occur over a relatively short time, which gives little opportunity to prepare to reduce their widespread impact on people, the economy of communities or societies that experience them and the environment, such that they exceed the ability of the effected communities or societies to cope by relying solely on their resources.

Fortunately, the developed countries have been able to put measures in place to contain the impact of disasters on those societies.

Statistics have it that more than 95 per cent of all deaths caused by disasters occur in developing countries and the losses that those countries suffer as a result of natural hazards are 20 times greater, as a percentage of GDP, than in the advanced countries.

Conversely, developing countries rather mostly do not have disaster plans in place.

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The difference is that the developed countries have put together actions that enable them to identify, evaluate and prioritise the possibility of losing something of value such as physical health, social harmony, financial wealth and emotional well-being.

No wonder, in modern disaster studies, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk.

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Ghana, like many other developing countries, has not done well in terms of disaster management plans, since, up till now, there is no disaster plan in place for the country. This is in spite of the many road accidents, floods and fire outbreaks that it has witnessed over the years.

Interestingly, Ghana is a signatory to an international framework that mandates it to come up with a disaster plan. It is unfortunate, but disheartening, that checks by the Daily Graphic have revealed that a 15-member committee that was put together in 2015 to see to the development of a national Disaster Risk Reduction plan has not completed its work, having met only twice since its constitution.

The Daily Graphic is more worried because apart from the effects of the absence of the plan for the country, its credibility in the comity of nations is on the line, as it is expected to produce the report to be fed into the first Sendai Framework Progress Report which is to be published this year.

Just like the approach we adopt when it comes to implementing and enforcing laws that we pass ourselves, we seem to be a country that is in a hurry to sign onto every international protocol or convention, but when it comes to implementation, we are so lackadaisical.

But, as it is now, we have no alternative but submit the report. That becomes more imperative viewed against the backdrop that countries, including Ghana, that are conducting voluntary national reviews on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2019 are expected to provide an update on disaster risk reduction at both the national and sub-regional levels.

We acknowledge the steps taken so far towards realising the ideals of the framework, but caution that Ghana does not deserve any embarrassment arising from our failure to present a concrete report.

The Daily Graphic urges the authorities to immediately resource the committee and push it to work to produce the report. We are more than capable and we know this can be done, as we have always pulled through challenges to show leadership to the rest of the world.