Monday, 7 April 2008 7:34 AM

NDMO Welcomes Proposed Commission of Inquiry

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister, Dr. Derek Sikua, to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the management of the tsunami rehabilitation funds and resources in Western and Choiseul Provinces.

Prime Minister Sikua announced the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into the tsunami relief and rehabilitation assistance on the floor of Parliament late last week.

However the details of the Commission, including the composition of its membership and terms of reference, were not made public as yet.

The NDMO Director, Loti Yates, in an interview with the National Express, stated that such a Commission would look at all the assistance provided for relief and rehabilitation after the earthquake and tsunami hit the two Provinces last April.

Yates, however, said that he hoped that the Commission would also accommodate the need to evaluate the strength and weaknesses of the country's disaster management office, along with its capacity constraints.

Yates welcomed the Commission stating that it could help clear any misconceptions about the level of assistance provided to the two provinces and how that assistance had been managed.

According to the NDMO office the actual cash from local and overseas sources actually channeled through the NDMO amounted to less than SBD$4 million dollars and a further estimated SBD$6 million of government support channeled through the normal government treasury process.

Yates said that the SBD$15 million, allocated by the previous Sogavare- led Government to assist the two stricken provinces, did not go through the NDMO.

He said that the funds was approved by the Cabinet in July last year and was supposed to be channeled through the MPs of the stricken areas of the two provinces.

The NDMO Director said that with regards to overseas assistance, most donors channeled their help through their aid implementing agencies in Solomon Islands.

For Example he said, when the US Government provided a USD$250,000 it channeled that support through its normal implementing agency World Vision international and these agencies managed that type of assistance in consultation with the NMDO.

The other possible misconception, he said, was that 80 percent of the donor assistances were lost simply in the dollar value of materials such as tents and medicines and the costs of logistics such as transporting the supplies from overseas.

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