BusinessDay

UNICEF, NEMA train 60 stakeholders on disaster management

About 60 disaster/emergency stakeholders drawn from the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria are undergoing a three-day workshop to draw up a contingency response plan for proactive disaster management.

The workshop was organised by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in Enugu.

The participating states are three states from the South-East and four states from South-South.

In his speech, the Health Specialist UNICEF Enugu Field Office, Olufemi Adeyemi said that the participants, who are disaster stakeholders, were drawn based on the country-wide risk analyses done last year by UNICEF.

According to him, the participants were from states within the two regions that had “very high risk” on series of different disaster issues such as flooding, cholera and communal violence, among others.

The participants, he also said, were drawn from different sectors such as health; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), environment and lead agencies on various emergencies from the national level.

“The idea is for us to draw up a contingency response plan in these prioritised mentioned areas of disasters,” he said.

Adeyemi said that “nobody is praying for disaster to happen but it is however, necessary and good, we will be proactive by preparing for them.

“We want the participants, who are stakeholders from states and field of disaster management at the sub-national level, to contribute to and own the contingency plan document. This document will be presented at the national level for validation.”

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Also in his contribution, the UNICEF Emergency Specialist, Yinka Afolabi said that UNICEF, NEMA and its partners wanted to achieve a bottom up approach to contingency planning by getting the states (sub-nationals) more committed to addressing disaster issues within their localities.

“We want the states to domesticate this contingency plan and use it to act or even hold their state government accountable and see what they can do in terms of appropriate actions and materials needed in emergency disasters.

“We are looking at a situation that the state will take lead action on local emergency situations; the Federal Government through NEMA and other partners can come in and fill-up the gap they cannot easily fill,” Afolabi said.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has stressed need for stakeholders in disaster management to marshal out proactive disaster management plan and system to reduce losses during disaster or emergency situations.

The Director-General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed said this in an address at a workshop on Review of the National Contingency Plan for Nigeria (Sub-National Level) holding in Enugu.

The Coordinator NEMA South-East , Thickman Tanimu, said that it was universally recognised fact that “preparedness before occurrence of disaster helps to a large extent to reduce both human and property losses”.

According to him, efficient organisation and detailed plan help to mitigate the impact of disasters and also lead to early recovery and rebuilding of affected segment of the society.

“It is in the light of this, that NEMA in collaboration with UNICEF is reviewing the National Contingency Plan for the country at the sub-national level.

The director-general appreciated UNICEF for making the workshop a reality.

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