NEMA, varsities plan national capacity building for disaster risk monitoring in states
Following the recurring flooding in some part of the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has teamed up with six universities to devise plans to improve the nation’s disaster readiness.
The move is coming in the wake of United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, deep concerns of extreme weather events unfolding across the world and the implications for future loss of life and economic damage to the world economy.
NEMA had in collaboration with the universities established six centres for Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies to expand and strengthen institutional technical capabilities; develop and implement information and decision support systems; enhance training in risk and vulnerability assessment tools and procedure, and enhance institutional access to data and information holdings.
The centres including University of PortHarcourt, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Maiduguri, Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Ibadan were made to provide and facilitate education, training and research in civil operations particularly operations that require international disaster management, development studies and humanitarian assistance and operations as well as facilitate education, training, interagency coordination and research.
Specifically, NEMA with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) commissioned a study to develop a guide for RIMA conduct, programme for developing National Capacity and country-wide action programme for undertaking Risk Identification, Monitoring and Assessment (RIMA).
Towards operationalizing this, a two-day workshop organized by NEMA and UNDP Nigeria was staged in Lagos recently, which attracted the six national centres of excellence for DRR recognized as the potential regional hub to facilitate the RIMA training in each geo – political zone.
NEMA Deputy Director, Ben Oghenah led discussion in the train the trainers programme is expected to provide manuals for improving the capabilities of individuals, families and communities, as well as that of businesses and governments.
According to Oghenah, the aim of the programme is to develop appropriate capacity for undertaking risk identification, monitoring and assessment so as to provide logical steps and actions required for an efficient and effective disaster risk management at different levels in the country.
Besides, it will improve the understanding of RIMA as a veritable decision support tool in disaster risk management and development planning, enhance the capacity of stakeholders in the conduct of RIMA, provide step by step guidance to conduct of risk assessment in the field and provide a resource book for the training of relevant practitioners and stakeholders in risk assessments.
The programme would also improve the level of preparation of stakeholders for the conduct of risk assessments, enable the identification of hazards as well as an understanding of their nature and characteristics and enable the appraisal of the inherent vulnerabilities, elements at risk as well as the capacities within the administrative area to be assessed.
Meanwhile, Glasser said: “There can be little doubt that 2017 is turning into a year of historic significance in the struggle against climate change and all the other risks that put human life in danger and threaten the peace and security of exposed and vulnerable communities around the world who find themselves in harm’s way from hurricanes, floods and earthquakes.
“We must realise that these disaster events are not natural phenomena but are a result of a built environment which is not fit for purpose and a failure to understand how we are intensifying the cocktail of disaster risk by not adequately addressing poverty, land use, building codes, environmental degradation, population growth in exposed in vulnerable settings and, most fundamentally, greenhouse gas emissions.
“The floods and monsoon rains across South Asia, deadly landslides and drought in Africa, the impact of four major Atlantic hurricanes, a major earthquake in Mexico with a tsunami threat to central America vividly demonstrate that we need to redouble our efforts to reduce the impact of such events in the future. They are a reminder to us all that the worst disasters which could happen have not happened yet.
“If we do not succeed in understanding what it takes to make our societies more resilient to disasters then we will pay an increasingly high price in terms of lost lives and livelihoods.”