The Ghana Red Cross Society has been commended for partnering with relevant state agencies to implement the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project, which has helped to build capacities of communities to respond to disaster-related issues in the country.

North East Regional Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), John Kweku Alhassan, who gave the commendation, said this had helped to lessen the impact of disasters in the country and thereby saving lives and property.

He was speaking at a forum in Tamale to disseminate the end-line and assessment report of the Disaster Risk Reduction project, which was implemented by the Ghana Red Cross Society in collaboration with NADMO with funding from the Swiss Red Cross.

The DRR was amongst other things aimed at strengthening the resilience of communities to disasters through establishing and consolidating their disaster preparedness structures and reducing their exposure and vulnerability to risks related to climate, natural, and health hazards.

The end-line and assessment report of the DRR, which was implemented in the Northern and Upper East Regions from 2018 to 2020, found that community members highly appreciated the focus of the DRR project on capacity strengthening, awareness-raising, and education.

The report said, “They mentioned in particular firefighting (because it protects livelihoods, reduces fire outbreaks and prevents injuries), first aid and search and rescue (save lives, respond to needs, treat injuries, reduce costs), tree growing (protects house and environment, provides wood, fruits, shade and fresh air/healthy environment), clean-up campaigns (prevent diseases, prevent bush fires, promote hygienic behaviour, create higher awareness) and health and hygiene education (prevent diseases, save lives)”.

The report recommended that “focus and scope of capacity strengthening as a key approach seem to be appropriate and should be continued” in the next phase of the DRR.

The Ghana Red Cross Society in collaboration with NADMO with funding from the Swiss Red Cross is set to begin the next phase of the DRR from June 2021 to 2024.

Mr Alhassan cited some of the activities implemented under the DRR saying “We built capacity of community members, equipped them with skills and also supported them with relevant working tools to enable them to respond adequately to disasters.”

He said “the project has been very helpful because there is the need for us to equip our communities to be strong enough to respond to disasters whenever they occur” adding this was exactly what the project had been doing.

He called on the citizenry not to put up structures in waterways and or flood-prone areas to help save lives and property when there are floods.

The Country Coordinator of Swiss Red Cross, Mr Thomas Okollah Oyugi said “The findings reveal that the achieved project outcomes now need to be consolidated. Thus, the overarching approach for the next phase should emphasise more on sustainability issues.”

He emphasised that “For the next four years, we will continue to work strongly with communities to develop their structures at the community level to withstand disasters.”