The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) would soon be empowered to demolish illegally sited structures in disaster prone areas.

A Bill (National Disaster Management Organisation Bill, 2015), which is currently before Parliament seeks to give legal backing to the NADMO to be decisively pre-emptive in towards happenings that bring disaster.

This role, that the Bill seeks to the give the NADMO, will be in tandem with what the law mandates the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to do in that respect.

Deputy Minister for the Interior, James Agalga, who moved the motion for the second reading on the NADMO Bill, 2015, told members that a careful review of the existing legislation which was passed in 1996 has necessitated the call to empower the disaster management organization because the law contains certain inherent weaknesses.

Those weaknesses, he noted, are the lack of voluntary call to support the NADMO in the management and prevention of disaster and disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation among others in the event that disaster occurs in the country.

“As a result, it has become very imperative for the legislation to be reviewed and to be reenacted to make room for the establishment of voluntary call in the NADMO to respond rapidly whenever disaster occurs in the country. Hon.

Speaker, the establishment of a voluntary call to support the NADMO has become even more necessary in the wake of the June 3 disaster which struck our capital.”

“When the June 3 disaster occurred, Mr. Speaker, it became evident that we needed to have a voluntary call in place to support the NADMO as the first in line organization to respond to disaster management in the country. Upon a careful review of existing legislation on disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction, it has come to light that the lack of enforcement is power for officers of the NADMO in disaster prevention is one of the reason which has resulted in our inability to respond more effectively to disasters in this country.”

“This bill seeks to make provisions for the officers of the NADMO to have enforcement functions to amongst others enter premises, inspects such premises and to demolish such structures as and when the officers are acting with the support of district planning officers come to the realization that the erection of structures are likely to be the cause of disasters. The bill is very important at this point in time because if it is passed, at the end of the day, the power to demolish illegal structures will no longer be a function of the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies alone,” he noted in a presentation on a the floor of Parliament Friday.

He further told the House that the Bill is also seeking to establish a Disaster Management Fund which would draw its resources from the Contingency Fund and other sources of fund to enable it manage disaster effectively whenever it occurs.

Chairman of the Committee on Defence and Interior, Fritz Baffour, in presenting his report for adoption told members that the bill when passed into law would strengthen disaster management in the country by reorganizing NADMO to ensure a participatory approach to disaster management, as well as motivating people to act responsibly to prevent or mitigate the effects of disaster.

“The passage of this Bill indicates government’s resolve to make disaster management a national priority and to ensure allocation of adequate resources to undertake disaster management programs and activities,” he noted.