MPs to take control of disaster rehabilitation fund, NDMO may close operation
CABINET has passed and agree to channel the disaster rehabilitation funds to the Members of Parliament (MP) for the affected areas instead to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).
This may force the NDMO the authorizing body to close its operations for providing relief supplies to the affected areas.
NDMO has requested for $3.3 million for the affected areas in Western, Choiseul, Isabel, Malaita, Central and Makira province affected by recent Cyclone Raquel but the Cabinet during their meeting on Thursday passed and agreed to give the fund through the MPs.
Director of NDMO Loti Yates confirmed they have requested for $3.3 million but if the Cabinet made its decision they will just have to close their operation.
The Opposition Office also revealed the Cabinet decision but they further disclosed that the Cabinet endorsed $5 million instead of $3.3 million.
Leader of Opposition Jeremy Manale strongly denounced the Cabinet’s decision and describing it as outrageous. See separate story page 3.
According to 1998 National Disaster Council Act section 11 (1) the Council shall assume full control in time of emergencies while the Cabinet for the purpose of the Act under section 10 shall approve the National Disaster Plan.
The Solomon Star had sought for verification from the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) on this issue since last Thursday but only assured the paper they will get back once they got response from the Cabinet.
Media consultant Alfred Sasako said, if it is true, it is not a surprising thing because the previous government have done the same thing in the past.
It was understood that in 2004 tsunami that hit Western province the NACRA led government have endorse $150,000 in relief money to assist the victims out of $15 million disaster funds to MPs.
Similar thing was also done during the April flood last year where relief money was given through to the MPs.
The Member of Parliament for East Honiara, Douglas Ete during that time have blasted the NCRA Government saying it has fail to allocate funds to counter national disaster.
He questioned why relief money had to be given to the MPs rather than the National Disaster Management Office
“Why does the money have to go into the hands of the MPs and not to the NDMO, which is the rightful authority to deal with disasters?” he quoted.
This latest decision if it is true, contradicts what he has said, on the same issue.
By CHARLES KADAMANA