Prioritise disaster risk reduction in nation’s socio-economic policies, minister tells FG
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Mrs. Sadiya Farouq, has charged the Federal Government to prioritise disaster risk reduction in the nation’s socio-economic policies. She said the country now faces high disaster risk because stakeholders focus on post-disaster interventions such as reconstruction and rehabilitation of devastated areas.
Minister stated this at the opening ceremony of the 9th National Water Conference organised by the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna and the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Farouq, who was represented by Mrs. Dorathy Nwodo, stressed the need to increase investments in preventive disaster risk reduction measures to build a more disaster-resilient society.
She described the theme of the conference, “Flood Management and Economic Development,” as apt and timely considering the history of floods in Nigeria and its devastating effects on the environment. She also noted that holding the meeting in Rivers State was significant considering that the state’s environment was heavily polluted, especially the marine ecosystem due to human activities and man-made disasters, which has inflicted significant damages on all aspects of people’s lives.
“Disasters in developing countries aggravate poverty and constitute obstacles to achieving sustainable development. Statistics showed the economic loss to Nigeria due to floods in 2012 stood at $17b,” she added.She said the social impact of disasters on the poor was immense because it makes it more difficult for them to escape poverty.
Speaking, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, urged Nigerians to take a cue from countries like the United States, France and Germany, which experience disasters from time to time, but have put in place adequate measures to properly manage their economic advantages rather than regard disasters as calamity.
On his part, Managing Director of NDBDA, Tonye David-West, noted that the Southern part of the country see flood as a disaster because adequate measures have not been taken on how to properly explore their economic benefits.He said, “Flood is good and bad. There are better ways to manage flood, but most important thing is information. We expect that expert analysis from the conference would help to enlighten Nigerians to properly harness the benefits of flooding and other disasters.”