Yates explains roles in times of disaster

The setting up of the livelihood committee is to ensure the existing government disaster management arrangement is utilised.

National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) director Loti Yates explained this at a ceremony of the handing over of seeds and gardening tools by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) to NDMO for the earthquake victims in Makira Ulawa Province, Friday.

“When this disaster management arrangement (Livelihood committee) set up, we try to work it out to ensure we utilise the existing government arrangement,” he added.

However, he said, before we have known and our attitude has been that every time there is a disaster, people reason that it is the work of the NDMO.

“And so a lot of time the government ministries where mandated with certain responsibilities sit back and wait for NDMO to come forward and tell them what to do.

“Now, the disaster anagement arrangement (Livelihood committee) has been set up to such that our expertise that is available within the government ministries like for the Ministry of Agriculture to go out there and do their work/responsibility,” he said.

He explained that the budget the government offers to MAL for its work must be diverted to ensure MAL is allowed to do what it is supposed to do under its charge.

“All the assets where government take and put it in the provinces must be made available to MAL staff to guarantee they do their work in the provinces.

“In the same manner, this also applies to other entities of the government like education, health, MID ministries,” he said.

Yates said it does not mean that because it is an earthquake or it is a tsunami and because it is coordinated by the NDMO it is the responsibility of the NDMO to do everything.

“All government entities must share the responsibility. Now if you like to know, what expertise is available at the NDMO, definitely there is no Agriculture expertise up there.

“So NDMO is to only coordinate government resources,” he added.

Yates said the disaster management arrangement is set up to ensure the different key elements of the government services are represented in the arrangement.

This committee now is called Livelihood Committee.

Yates said when a disaster impacts, certain things happen like life of people are in total disarray and therefore there is a phase call emergency relief where people go with temporary shelter and short term food supplies etc..

“After the first phase (emergency relief) we have the recovery phase.”

He added that when such disaster happens, it creates a lot of impacts on different sectors like it impacts on agriculture sector where it affects life of people as far as food security is concern, it affects health sector, education sector etc.

“So these sectors have different responsibilities under their mandates like health only responsible for health issues, education on schools infrastructures, and so forth.

“Under the disaster management arrangement, we have infrastructure committee, livelihood, protection, education, health and camp management.

“So if there is a displace population then the camp management committee will take the responsibility to look after them.

“Each sector has its responsibility under its mandate,” Yates pointed out.