Ten Local Disaster Management Coordinators (LDMC) who successfully completed a five-day induction programme received yesterday their certificates from the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, and in the presence of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr Etienne Sinatambou.

The award ceremony was held at the Fooks House in Port-Louis. A first batch of LDMC has been recruited in an effort to equip local authorities for better disaster management across Mauritius.

In her address, the Vice-Prime Minister underlined that the consequences of climate change such as the unpredictable weather patterns across the world are significant and that it is urgent that proper measures are taken to address them.

Mauritius, said Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo, has had unprecedented episodes of torrential rainfall and flash floods which caused much hardship to people in flood prone areas being affected by rising water levels. Government is determined to act and the support and collaboration of all stakeholders are essential in this endeavour, she said.

Speaking about the role of LDMC, the Vice-Prime Minister indicated that they have to understand the challenges faced by Mauritius in terms of disaster management. Coordinators will act as liaison between different stakeholders involved in disaster management for the safety and protection of the population.

Moreover, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo outlined that different measures have being taken by Government to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and protect the population. In the wake of flash floods earlier this year, the protocol for cyclones was reviewed and a new protocol for flash floods was devised.

With regard to the issue of illegal construction which has a serious impact during torrential rainfall and flash floods, the Vice-Prime Minister recalled that amendments to the Local Government Act, such as stricter penalties and a mandatory pulling down order for construction on rivers, drains and canals have been introduced. In addition, 100 officers of Inspectorate Grade are being recruited to ensure that all new constructions are in compliance with the conditions of the Building and Land Use Permits issued by the Local Authorities.

Minister Sinatambou, for his part, emphasised that the world has known a paradigm shift when it comes to dealing with the consequences of climate change. Now, he indicated, the focus is more on disaster risk management rather than disaster management. The manpower and any number of measures cannot fully prepare for the worst when it comes to natural disasters, he cautioned. Thus the need to manage and reduce risks prior to the events, which will be the key tasks of the newly recruited coordinators, he added.

Referring to the World risk report 2017, the Minister said that Mauritius ranks as the 7th most exposed country in the world to natural disasters. Thus the importance to take steps to cater for and mitigate the risks associated with natural disasters, he warned.

Training programme

The training programme was a joint collaboration of the Ministry of Local Government and Outer Islands, the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Civil Service College.

The ten LDMC will be posted in the different Local Authorities. Their key role will be to coordinate with all stakeholders during a disaster situation.

Source: Source: Government of Mauritius