The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq; has stated that all disaster are local and that disaster risk reduction is the responsibility of all citizens.
She made the statement on Thursday at the event to commemorate the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction with the theme: “Early Warning and Early Action for all” (TARGET G), held in Abuja.
The Honourable Minister represented by the Director, Humanitarian Affairs of the Ministry, Alhaji Ali Grema; tasked communities to take climate predictions and flood outlooks warnings seriously, as the Government cannot outrightly eliminate flood but can keep people safe, which is the collective responsibility of all.
Speaking further, she informed that the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is a day that all must endeavour to mark because of its significance in our present reality and that the day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to promote global culture of disaster risk reduction. She further said that the day gives the opportunity for stakeholders to “acknowledge the progress being made towards preventing and reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, economies and basic infrastructure in line with the international agreement for reducing global disaster risk and losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015- 2030 adopted in March 2015.”
Farouq reiterated that this year is focusing on Sendai Framework Target G: “Substantially increasing the availability of and access to multi- hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030” and that the focus on Target G is apt considering the magnitude and degree of disasters confronting the nation.
She further informed that the scale of devastation of widespread flood that have been ravaging many states, Local Governments and communities in Nigeria can be compared to the 2012 floods as more than 500 lives have been lost, more than 1.4million persons displaced and about 90,000 homes destroyed. Also destroyed are thousands of hectares of farmland thereby worsening fears of a disruption of food supply in the country.
Farouq recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan that was developed by an inter-ministerial committee which the Ministry and all relevant stakeholders are drawing up an implementation framework for the plan. According to her, the plan stipulates specific roles and actions for all (including National, State and Local Government as well as households, communities and pressure groups).
She pledged that the Ministry will work with all stakeholders in continuous sensitization of the public on preventive measures to guide against unforeseen disaster in the country.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Habib Ahmed; said that 13th October is the date set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to promote culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction to enhance community resilience and it is also designed to encourage effective multi- stakeholder coordination mechanisms and multi-sector collaboration to build disaster resilient communities across the world.
According to him, for this year 2022, UNGA resolved to recognize the commemoration as a tool for promoting a global mindset on natural disaster mitigation covering prevention and preparedness. He said the theme of this year is quite germane as disaster risk reduction becomes the dominant paradigm towards building resilience and promoting sustainable development in the face of new and emerging disaster challenges.
Ahmed called on all tiers of Government, private individuals, business organizations and development partners to embrace, support and take practical actions in promoting multi-hazard early warning systems in Nigeria.
He informed that NEMA and its esteemed partners grapple with large-scale flood disaster across the country with already more than 500 lives lost, several properties destroyed and a large number of persons displaced in some of the disaster hotspots. He acknowledged that few days ago the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development convened a Stakeholder Consultative Forum to review the flood disaster outlook and the humanitarian dashboard, identify gaps and review strategies for live-saving delivery.
He said NEMA and other agencies responsible for the generation and dissemination of early warning will continue to review the progress and trends in strengthening effectiveness of early warning and early action, review contributions from different approaches as well as the applications of the lessons learned through the lenses of anticipatory early actions.
There were goodwill messages from representatives of various organizations and agencies such as the Chairman House Commtittee on Disaster Management, representative of DG NiMet, FCT Disaster Management Agency amongst others.
There was drama presentation in keeping with the theme “Early Warning and Early Action For All” by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Cultural display by the FCT Troupe to spice up the event.
The event was hosted by NEMA and attended by relevant agencies/stakeholders.