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Disaster Management: Relentless Government Efforts Pay off

Assisted by partners, government has been up to the task to ensure that victims receive prompt assistance.

Cameroon has in recent years been hit by a string of natural disasters, especially flooding in the Far North and North Regions.

Creation Of Management Committee

Not oblivious to the situation, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, MINATD, René Emmanuel Sadi, upon the instructions of President Paul Biya, on September 13, 2014, created the Coordination and Follow-up Committee on Managing Relief Assistance and Assisting Flood Victims.

Assistance Of Partners

Not left in limbo, the Secretary General of the International Civil Protection Organisation, ICPO, Vladimir Kushinov, accompanied by the Russian Emergency Minister, visited the country from January 27-31, 2014. The delegation donated humanitarian assistance and equipment to government while an international colloquium and diplomatic forum on the stakes and challenges of civil protection in countries of the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, was also organised.

Achievements Of Management Committee

After several field visits to the affected regions in the last 10 months, the Coordination and Follow-up Committee produced some positive results based on work on the four main areas of humanitarian response, rehabilitation, risk management and international support.  The Head of State has since created a Disaster Support Fund and health response mechanisms backed by disease prevention measures, have been put in place in affected communities.

Plans are underway to start a television programme to sensitise the public on disaster prevention. Some 201,000 flood victims have received assistance worth FCFA 3 billion; with FCFA 838.6 million of it offered by President Biya, while the remaining FCFA 2 billion came from government.   

Rehabilitation work is proceeding on infrastructure projects by SEMRY, MINEPAT and the Military Engineering Corps. Similarly, homes are being reconstructed with local material recommended by MIPROMALO. On the other hand, various stakeholders are sensitising the public on disaster risk management, while much assistance has come in from international partners. They are the International Civil Protection Organisation, Morocco, Japan, UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, PLAN Cameroon and the Cameroon Red Cross.

Plans For The Future

The Coordination and Follow-up Committee on Managing Relief Assistance and Assisting Flood Victims plans to carry out an assessment of the total cost of homes, farms and social infrastructure destroyed in the two regions by floods. It also intends to resettle the affected people, prevent further flooding next rainy season, rehabilitate meteorological stations for better monitoring of weather conditions, and repair damaged roads.

In the same light, compensation will be paid to victims, proper hygiene and sanitation measures put in place, reforestation schemes undertaken and a civil protection warehouse constructed in the Far North Region. In addition, public sensitisation campaigns will continue, emergency relief plans developed, local people trained in First Aid, while flood victims will be provided logistics and basic necessities for sleeping, drugs and food stocks in readiness for the return of rains.

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