26 November 2012

Nigeria: Dry Season - NEMA Prepares for Harmattan Fire

In a bid to prevent a re-occurrence of another disaster of the magnitude witnessed during recent flooding across the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has inaugurated a technical committee on campaign against fire and bush burning during the harmattan season.

The technical committee is to map out the most vulnerable areas in early preparation against any likelihood of future re-occurrence of disasters including bush and market fire during the harmattan and dry season.

In a statement issued by its Head of Public Relations, Mr. Yushau Shauib, the agency warned road users against reckless driving during the ember months to avoid unnecessary carnage on the highways.

The statement also quoted the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, of soliciting the cooperation of the stakeholders and the international agencies in protecting the communities and helping to build the culture of disaster resilience among the people.

Sani-Sidi spoke while receiving in his office separate visits by a team from the United Kingdom Cabinet Office led by Mr Nick Gibbons and the newly appointed Commander of the Nigerian Air Force Abuja Camp, Group Captain Joseph Malgwi.

He said NEMA has mobilised stakeholders and volunteers to be prepared in the likelihood of massive fire incidents in markets, farmlands and forests in the harmattan and dry season due to indiscriminate storage of inflammable products and bush burning.

"We are closely monitoring the traffic in collaboration with our stakeholders during mass-rush of commuters in ember months so as to minimise risks of road accidents that could involve fuel tankers.

"While mobile ambulances are strategically stationed in prone areas, sensitisation campaigns are essential to reduce the vulnerabilities."

According to the NEMA DG, experiences from the unprecedented flood has shown that synergy among the stakeholders including the states and local governments is required to address different kinds of disasters.

Sani-Sidi further said the agency has already developed a national contingency plan to guide timely response to any sudden onset emergency in the country.

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