Friday, October 15, 2010

Officers to be deployed to drought-stricken area



DIRECTOR of the National Disaster Office (NDC), Martin Mose, said provincial disaster officers from Lae will be deployed to the drought-stricken Menyamya area of Morobe, The National reports.

He said his office was made aware of the drought through the media only yesterday and had alerted their officers on the ground in Lae to visit the area, assess the situation and report back to his office.

Mose made this assurance after reading The National’s front page report yesterday.

The head of disaster operations in the nation said as soon as the ground officers in Menyamya submitted their assessments and reports NDC would act accordingly.

“We cannot do anything as yet. We will wait for the report to come to us and then we shall consider appropriate measures to help the affected people,” he said.

According to Mose, the emergency funding earmarked for emergency exercise each year was insufficient and could not cater for disasters of a larger magnitude if it occurs.

He said he could not disclose the amount given by the state to NDC because of protocols and said the chief secretary was the one in charge of the matter. 

In the Menyamya case, Mose said if the nature of the drought was not serious and the magnitude was small, than the responsibility of relief and help work will fall back to the hands of the provincial government and provincial disaster offices.

However, he said if the drought was serious and needed immediate attention, then the NDC would come on board and declare a national emergency and would work closely with the provincial governments to help the affected people.

 In the meantime, Mose said his office was aware that there would be a “mega drought” in the coming months.

He urged people in affected areas to take measures to help themselves while waiting for NEC to approve his office’s contingency plan for carrying out emergency work in the country.

 He said once the national disaster contingency plan was approved, a task force would be set up to oversee the coordination and implementation efforts.

Meanwhile, the fears of the coming dry season was also  confirmed by the National Weather Services assistant director for climate and special services, Kasis Inape, who said the normal rain season has been prolonged due to the effects of a previous drought season last year.

Inape also said the clear skies in parts of the country with strong winds blowing were signs that the drought would continue and urged people to be weary.

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