10 July 2012

Nigeria: NEMA Develops National Contingency Plan On Disaster Management

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Tuesday in Abuja presented the 2012/2013 National Contingency Plan to stakeholders in disaster management.

Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi, Director-General of NEMA, said that it would place the country in a better position to seek assistance and guidance from international humanitarian community.

Sani-Sidi said that the contingency plan contained measures to be put in place to check and manage disaster in the country.

He said that the plan would also give the country a better platform to seek assistance from international communities aimed at supporting and complementing national action.

The NEMA boss noted that the plan, which was in line with global best practices, adopted a three phase sectorial approach of preparedness, minimum response period and comprehensive response.

He explained that the preparedness response represented the activities to be put in place before the onset of disaster while the minimum period represented activities for the first three days of an incident.

According to him, the comprehensive approach will look at on-going actions for the next seven days after disasters.

"We must all resolve to make this plan operational so that it does not fall under the fallacy of paper plan syndrome where plans exist only to create an illusion of preparedness.

"Today's presentation is timely and apt bearing in mind that the country is presently faced with multiplicity of hazards such as floods, terrorism, drought, disease epidemic, insect infestation and general food insecurity."

He said that incidents of flooding in Lagos and other parts of the country were indications that the NIMET 2012 prediction on rainfall and associated floods was a reality.

Sani-Sidi said that the increasing complexity of emergencies confronting the country at both communal and national levels called for sustained collaboration between stakeholders.

He stated that the collaboration would strengthen humanitarian operators to cater for the most vulnerable groups.

He said emergency challenges were getting exacerbated by recent security and climate change phenomena, which served as a wake up call to review and strengthen the contingency plan and emergency response capacity.

Earlier, NEMA's Director, Planning, Research and Forecasting (DPRF), Mr Charles Agbo, said that disaster management could not be handled by one agency alone.

He expressed optimism that the contingency plan would address the complexity of emergencies facing the country, noting that a country without a contingency plan could not succeed in disaster management.

Representative of Oxfam International, Mr Yinka Afolabi, who gave an overview of the contingency plan, listed prevalent hazards that were nature induced to include epidemics and diseases, flood, erosion, pest infestation and wind storms.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oxfam International is a confederation of 17 organisations working together to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.

The organisation works directly with communities seeking to influence the powerful to ensure that the poor people can improve their livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

He said that human induced hazards that needed to be addressed, included road accidents, air crashes, boat mishap, communal and religious conflicts, oil spills, pipe line vandalism and fire disasters.

Others are dam breakage, increasing level of urban industrial pollution and waste, bombing and terrorism. NAN

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