Accra, October 2 2017. Mr. Seji Saji, Deputy Director General of the National Disaster Management Organization, Ghana, has set the tone for a two-week interactive course on Humanitarian Assistance in West Africa at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
‘’The subject (of humanitarian assistance) is very relevant to us in Africa, and particularly those of us in West Africa because, apart from the fact that we are part of the global village, the brunt of most civil strife and major disasters, continue to find comfort in our sub-region’’ he stated.
He made this observation at the official opening ceremony for the Humanitarian Assistance core Course. He noted that countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Mali have, in the past and very recently, battled with both civil conflicts and health/natural disasters.
He said the occurrences of these disasters resulted in the massive movement of people, destruction of property and significant socio-economic infrastructure, food insecurity, malnutrition, among others. He called on ECOWAS to reinforce its role and mandate in humanitarian responses and coordination in the sub-region, by dedicating funds for the management of disasters. He opined that it is critical to create a data base of all humanitarian assistance capacities of all its members to know which member state to rely on in specific instances.
The Commandant of KAIPTC, Air Vice Marshall Griffiths Evans, noted that the course would prepare participants adequately to deliver humanitarian assistance to the millions of vulnerable people on the continent.
Brigadier General Dr. Alois Hirschmugl, representative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence & Sports in his address, gave an estimated number of 60 million refugees and more than 125 million people who require humanitarian assistance. “This course should be one of the answers to those who are suffering most’, he added.
Boubacar Soumana Garanke, a course participants from Niger shared his expectations for the course; “I am looking forward to strengthening my capabilities and understanding better, the issues and challenges related to humanitarian in West Africa.’’
The course is organized by KAIPTC and the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), supported by the Austrian Development Agency and the Austrian Ministry of Defense and Sports (AMODS).
The course, which has twenty five participants from sixteen countries across Africa in attendance, aims at institutionalizing effective coordination and mutual understanding, between Civilian, Military and Police actors in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.