By Kasim Sumaina
The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammadu Muhammed, has stated that confronted with the rising cases of disasters globally resulting in huge human, environmental and material loses to communities; the process towards attaining sustainable development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals have slowed down.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to adapt to the new situation which Covid-19 and climate change has introduced so as to avoid devastating consequences.
Speaking in Abuja at a workshop for NEMA staff on integrating climate change and Covid-19 vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning for disaster risk management in Nigeria, he said impacts of climate change and Covid-19 cut across all boundaries either spatial/geographical, economic, political technological or social and cultural.
He opined that the risk and dynamics of the pandemic and climate change vulnerability, “has given us the warning that we have to quickly adapt to the new situation or we suffer the devastating consequences.”
According to him, “Climate change has added yet another stress to those of environmental degradation and rapid unplanned urban growth, further reducing communities’ abilities to cope with even the existing levels of weather related hazards.”
He noted that increased drought in some regions will likely lead to land degradation, damage to crops or reduced yields, more livestock deaths, and an increased risk of wildfire.
Such conditions Muhammed said, “Would increase the risks for population dependent on subsistence agriculture, through food and water shortage and higher incidence of malnutrition, water-borne and food-borne diseases, and may lead to displacements of populations.
“As we grapple with the consequences of climate change, the world is faced with another global pandemic which has complicated the process of managing disasters and created an incident within another incident.”
He advised therefore that, “as a nation we cannot continue in our traditional ways of managing disasters, but we have to evolve the process of disaster risk reduction and adaptation to hazards in a daily basis.
“Covid-19 has led to huge economics losses, death and distortion in human pattern of life. Effort to address the two incidents calls for capacity development of Disaster Risk Managers. Hence the reason for this workshop.
“This workshop therefore, will provide analytical and probing skills for NEMA Staff and the stakeholders in carrying out COVID-19 recovery needs assessment for Disaster Risk Reduction.
“It will also provide a platform for sharing of ideas, approaches, and methodologies for identifying, assessing the hazards that are encountered by various communities, their vulnerabilities and capacities for effective and efficient emergency intervention for data base development in the country.”