Upper West prepares for emergencies

BY: Michael Quaye

Plan Ghana, a non-governmental organisation that supports child education, has trained 204 teachers in disaster risk management to help contain emergency situations in the Upper West Region.

The teachers, drawn from schools in five districts of the region, are expected to also train persons in their schools and communities to equip them with knowledge in disaster risk management.

The trainees were from the Wa West, Wa East, Sissala West, Sissala East and Wa Central districts.

At the last of the training workshops at Wechiau in the Wa West District where some 39 teachers took their turn, the Programme Unit Manager of Plan Ghana in the Upper West Region, Eric Ayaba, said society must be equipped for emergencies in order not to leave particularly women and children at the mercy of such conditions.

“A day of disaster must not be allowed to shatter the dreams of children and communities.

“Society must be equipped to contain disasters, especially those that have become yearly rituals through the seasons,” he said.

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Mr Ayaba said the training  programme was to ensure that more people benefitted from the training at the lowest level to encourage community and individual involvement in such matters of emergency.

In the Upper West Region, cases of rainstorm, flooding caused by heavy rains or the opening of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso and bush fires are among the commonest emergencies that confront the people.

Conflict, which Plan Ghana identified as another emergency case that could displace people and communities, was however, hardly a threatening issue for the region.

But Mr Ayaba said: “We need to be prepared for emergencies of all kinds and even work to prevent them where possible, since disasters affect everybody but benefit no one”.

The training event at Wechiau centred on vulnerability of particularly women and children, hazards that accompany disasters, disaster risks such as curtailing the education of children, and building the capacity to fight disasters, and it was to enable the trainees to appreciate the full stretch of disaster risk management, he said.

The facilitator of the training programme, Mr Sulemana Gbana, who is also Plan Ghana’s disaster point person, said the task of disaster management required commitment from the trainees in the effort to impact the greater society at the schools and communities.

The event was also attended by staff of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Department of Social Welfare.