Togo - Disaster risk reduction and emergency response institutions

Institutions involved in disaster risk reduction and emergency response
Although several institutions play a role in disaster management in Togo, four institutions remain at the apex coordination level. These are the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Defense.


The Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources (MERF)

MERF has been trusted with the responsibility for disaster reduction in Togo since October 2006. The Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources hosts the DRR platform and nominated the Focal Point to ISDR for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for action. Following are mandates of the Ministries:

The role of the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources (MEFR) in the field of Disaster Reduction is regulated by law No. 2008-005 (30 May 2009), which aimed at setting a framework for the Environment, and which declares MEFR responsible for disaster reduction in Togo. Along these lines, it ensures:

  • The effective integration of the environmental dimension into policy-making, programmes, and development projects encompassing sector-wide activities;
  • Risk Assessment of natural or technological disasters;
  • Taking the appropriate warning and prevention measures;
  • The initiation of organized rescue projects on national, regional, and prefectural levels;
  • The establishment of emergency plans aimed at dealing with critical situations;
  • The development of coordinated public service plans to ensure people’s safety, evacuation and medical treatment, as well as to fight against pollution, fires, and all pertaining hazardous aftermaths.

Activities of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (ISDR platform activities in Togo). The Togo platform was established in April 2007. The main activities of the platform are:

  • The integration of disaster reduction issues in the afore mentioned environment law;
  • The inclusion of disaster reduction in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP);
  • The inclusion of disaster reduction in the UNDP “Country Programme for Development Assistance” document;
  • The development of a National Strategy for Disaster Reduction in Togo (ongoing);
  • Workshops, information dissemination, and raising awareness on early warning and disaster management;
  • Authentication of the diagnostic study which has led to the establishment of preliminary flood risk maps in two regions (Maritime and Savane regions) that have been severely affected by devastating floods over 2007 and 2008;
  • The establishment of local committees for the implementation of the ORSEC project and for disaster management purposes;
  • Regional workshops aimed at educating, raising awareness and training local actors and decision makers on the integration of risk and disaster management in local programmes and projects. The overall objective is to shed light on the roles and responsibilities of these actors in risk and disaster management activities in Togo, with the purpose of reducing the population’s vulnerability to natural hazards and specifically to floods;
  • Brainstorming workshop dealing with the establishment of an early warning system;
  • Development of a memorandum on disaster reduction;
  • Development of a documentary titled “Disaster Reduction Begins at School”;
  • Support the development of a contingency plan on disaster management;
  • Signing partnership deals with two research centers at the University of Lomé (Togo) targeting studies on climatic trends and the collection of hydrological data in the framework of flood prevention in Togo;
  • Preparation of and participation in international meetings relevant to disaster prevention and management.


Ministry for Civil Defense
The Ministry for Civil Defense manages the ORSEC Plan (Plan d’Organisation des Secours), the plan to respond to any emergency situation. Other activities are:

  • Ensure the provision of support to other rescue and emergency response services
  • Ensure the provision of support in transportation and logistics
  • Ensure the provision of accommodation and refuge
  • Ensure the support for public works


Ministry of Social Affairs
The Ministry of Social Affairs created the Department for Coordination and the Department for Management during the flood situation in December 2008. Following are initiatives of the department

  • Support of flood victims
  • To implement policies of the Government
  • To plan strategies for Disaster management
  • To plan relief operations
  • Provide emergency relief services
  • Collect necessary data required for mobilising necessary resources

Ministry of Security and Civil Protection
The Ministry of Security and civil protection established the Department of Civil Protection in 2007. The department understands the importance of spatial technologies and however it lacks the mechanism to get reliable information to mobilise resource which hampers their activities. Key functions are:

  • Ensure inter-sectoral coordination of relief operations
  • Ensure the protection of people and property
  • Ensure rescue and evacuation
  • Ensure the organization of simulative operations
  • Ensure needs assessment
  • Contribute to the implementation of an early warning system


Besides these four main players, there are several other departments contributing to disaster management.

National Meteorological Department

The National Meteorological Service in Togo, declared as Direction Générale de la Météorologie Nationale (DGMN) has the classical function of providing meteorological information and weather forecasts for Togo. DGMN is responsible for the national station network comprising 9 synoptic stations, 19 climatological stations and about 200 precipitation points. The instrumentation of the stations is rather oldfashioned and needs to be updated. The DGMN focuses on 3 main components, namely agro-meteorology, climatology and research. It receives MSG satellite images every 15 minutes, however, the institute has not the capacity or infrastructure neither to adequately analyse nor to store these data and to deliver its mandatory services.


University of Lome

The University of Lome regularly performs research activities that contributes to the knowledge base for disaster management. The university has several research projects on monitoring coastal processes and erosion activities. Some technical capacity regarding the use of space-based technology and satellite image processing was identified at the university. Satellite image processing is mainly based on the use of medium and low resolution images such as LANDSAT (and partly ENVISAT). Regarding geospatial analysis, GIS is applied for land cover/land use change analysis, digital elevation models, and risk mapping especially along the coastal area. There is also an ongoing effort to establish a larger data center that might play a major role within the development of a national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI).


Fire brigade

The equipment of the national fire brigade located in Lome is currently at a state that seriously needs to be improved and modernised. Although the department is lead by a very experienced and engaged head who is supported by well-trained team members, there are crucial gaps especially in the field of using modern GPS and satellite-based communication technology. The technology was put in place by international humanitarian agencies, however, nobody trained the staff to use the respective technical devices. At this point the mission team suggested an introductory training course led by the regional partners from RECTAS.


Department of Cartography and Cadastre Department of Cartography and Cadastre (Direction Générale du Cadastre et de la Cartographie) within the

“Ministère de l’Urbanisme et de l’Habitat” is strategically placed as it is custodian of crucial geographical information such as topographic maps and maintain archives of aerial photographs. Department of Cartography and Cadastre is composed of 3 engineers and 9 technicians. It has no GIS equipment, hence the cartographic work is currently held by hand (no electronic data available). It needs to be modernised and staff to be trained which should be the case through the SIGIT project. It has logically been identified to host the DIGIT project until a new independent structure such as a Cartographic National Institute is established.