….NCRA to take lead in the registration of all victims of disasters during emergencies
(Freetown, Thursday, 6 August 2020) The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), the Office of National Security (ONS), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the Freetown City Council (FCC), Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats-SL), Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) have held a pillar and co-lead meeting on preparedness, response and recovery for disaster at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The meeting also discussed how to identify and tackle challenges in registering disaster victims during emergencies.
The pillar leads comprised relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with co-leads drawn from UN Agencies and international organisations with requisite expertise in working during emergencies.
In his welcome address, the Director-General of NCRA, Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi who chaired the meeting, commended the attendees for honouring the invitation and informed them that the purpose of the meeting was to come together and discuss the mandate that the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) has given the NCRA through ONS. The meeting also deliberated and agreed on the standard tools to utilise to register victims of a disaster.
“We are expected to advise the GOSL through ONS on the standard tools to undertake in a registration exercise when there is need for it and of course organise joint registration exercise for the affected population and direct victims within 24 hours,” he informed.
The Director-General of NCRA further informed attendees that the goal of the meeting is to prepare in anticipation that there is need to register victims during an emergency.
‘You have to prepare before in anticipation that the need will arise. So that once the need arises, you do not have to waste time to begin to advance reasons that we have not been prepared or we have not been notified,” he said.
Mr. Massaquoi spoke about the necessity for early preparation for emergencies and the need to compile, collate or disaggregate the registers based on the data available on the affected population and share that information and data with ONS and GOSL, including its partners. This he said will guide interventions to mitigate or address any disaster or emergency that may arise and indicate what the needs of those victims of disasters will be like.
“You will not want to sit and wait until you have a disaster or an emergency. It is clear we have to agree to identify the tools that we will have to use to capture victims of disasters or emergencies of any nature; natural or otherwise. And once you have that, and then you will now be able to prepare yourself to put in place what will be needed just in case there is any emergency. And how you can intervene within 24 hours to advise government and partners on what will be done to address the challenges that the affected population would have had,” Mr. Massaquoi emphasized.
He said that what the Registration Pillar needs is the foundation for any intervention that would be considered by Government and partners to identify the affected population clearly and precisely, not by estimate as in the past where government or partners had cause to waste so much resources.
The Director-General cautioned that the Pillar leads must be serious in the exercise and be guided by integrity for registration to be precise with the population so that actual victims of emergencies will benefit.
“We in this group, we will not want to indulge in that. What will save us from that is to begin to prepare now ahead of time, “he said.
Mr. Massaquoi also said that the purpose of the meeting is to familiarize them more with the membership of the pillar, to meet and discuss what tools to use or what the structure will be like to intervene during an emergency.
He encouraged the ONS and partners to provide the tools that they have been using in emergencies and assured them that NCRA will not invent any new tool but will work to improve on what they have.
“We are going to strengthen the structures that existed and not dismantle them,” he assured.
Responding, the Co-Chairman and Technical Specialist of UNFPA, Dr. Stephen Mupeta, commended the Director-General of NCRA and reaffirmed the availability of UNFPA to support the pillar.
He said that population and development were some of the key mandates of UN agencies to support, which includes census, Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and many other data management processes.
Dr. Mupeta noted that the pillar is critical to enhance coordination in order to help reduce wastage of resources during emergencies.
Research Officer, Sabiatu Bakarr and Logistics Officer, Major Prince Sesay, both of ONS, briefed members of the Registration Pillar on the modus operandi that they have been using to register people during emergencies and said that they will support NCRA to take the lead in the registration of victims during an emergency.
They informed that ONS has Regional and District Coordinators all over Sierra Leone that work with Regional and District Disaster Management Committees (RDMC, DDMC) during emergencies. They said Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Red Cross and WFP were some of the institutions that they work with during disasters. They also informed that ONS have volunteers through whom they work but have had challenges of favoritism, lack of integrity and use of sentiment to register victims of disaster.
They also informed that the World Food Programme (WFP) provided tablets which they distributed to their volunteers during emergencies. They recommended that WFP be co-opted into the pillar in order to avoid any duplication of their efforts.
The Pillars recommended that the ONS update the Committee on previous activities and to share the list of volunteers and tools previously used.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Director-General of NCRA, John Goodwill Lavalie, the Director of Disaster Operations, Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Sierra Leone (ELCSL), Joseph N.K. Brewah, Statistician, Juliet Nyalloma of Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats-SL), Director of Operations, NCRA, Abu Bakarr Javombo, Stella Smith from Freetown City Council (FCC), Representatives from NaCSA, Harold Deigh, the Directorate of Operations and Planning of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Supt. Alieu Sillah Kamara and Supt. Gabriel G.M.T. Tommy.
The Pillar Lead will meet again on Tuesday 11th August, 2020.
©️ IEC DIRECTORATE, NCRA