Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Abuja, at the weekend launched a 15-year policy document on disaster risk management in the country.
Presenting the policy document at a stakeholders’ meeting, the Director General of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, said with the development, Nigeria has joined other countries in achieving the target of the Sendai framework (2015-2030).
The NEMA boss stressed that, Nigeria like other countries in the West African Region and the continent had witnessed continuous rise in both natural and human induced disasters which has resulted in loss of lives, large scale displacement, socio economic dislocation and environmental degradation.
According to him, “We have continuously faced a yearly devastating flood which has taken a great toll on all aspects of life and development.
“We need to shift from our places of comfort and take on disaster risk management with full steam.
“Globally, disaster risk management has witnessed improved legislation, improved awareness, improved early warning systems, better preparedness, including establishment of sustainable structures and national platforms for disaster risk reduction.
“But, these have not been sufficient to generate the transformational change required in risk governance.”
Maihaja added, “If we truly want to get ahead of the curve of humanitarian need and economic losses, we must set up strategies to address underlying risk drivers.
“We need to integrate risks as well as potential opportunities into development planning and budgeting. This is the only way we can build resilient and sustainable societies capable of addressing both climate and disaster risks.
“This is the only path to reduce mortality, reduce the numbers of people affected by disasters, reduce economic losses, and reduce damage to critical infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.”
He said the policy document concentrates on four priority areas namely – awareness, governance, capacity and resilience.
The document, according to him, outlines the framework providing directions for supporting measures to strengthen communities, individuals, businesses and institutions to minimise the adverse effects of disasters in Nigeria.
It also provides a direction for enhancing the ability to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from disasters across all elements in the country. And responds to the various DRR challenges by articulating the renewed commitment of government to DRR.
He further stated that the document streamlines a set of guidelines for decision making regarding what needs to be done to achieve the desired outcome in DRM.
“The policy document also guides the development and implementation of Disaster Risk management plans and programs of States and Local Government levels to achieve the government’s priority of a safe, more secure and resilient community.”
Stressing that it was projected that, “if we continue with the current business as-usual, an estimated amount of N3 trillion will be required to curb and respond to disasters across the 36 states in Nigeria in 2020 and this will be mainly for providing short term relief and replacement of damaged infrastructures.
“For many states across the country, taking DRR to higher level and preventing disasters will be a challenging task. What better opportunity can be deployed than the right instrument,” Maihaja asked.