1 November 2021
Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) has asked the Federal Government to make disaster risk reduction a national policy and incorporate same into the national budget.
Director-General FEMA, Alh. Idriss Abbas made the call recently at a media briefing to mark the 2021 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Abuja.
Alh. Idriss said this would ensure that all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA’s) imbibe disaster risk reduction in their activities as practiced in advanced climes, where there is awareness on early warning signs.
He regretted that in Nigeria, the citizens are still being sensitized and are yet to imbibe the culture of using the 112 toll-free emergency number.
He also appealed to the Federal Government to include disaster risk reduction in the school curriculum in order to inculcate the philosophy in the young ones.
The FEMA boss blamed the recent loss of lives to disaster in the FCT on the attitude of residents who always ignore early warning signs.
According to him, disaster responders are strategically positioned at dangerous spots during the rainy season. He revealed that disaster management is a multi-agency affair, noting that “if you spend one naira in disaster reduction, you have saved one million naira. We are working with Estate owners, housing developers, the FCDA, Department of Development Control, and other relevant MDA’S on their evacuation and response plans. We must involve the public and private sector in disaster management”.
On climate change, the DG noted that the country had lost between ₦250 billion and ₦300 billion of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over time to the ravages of climate change and underscored the need for state and local government emergency management agencies to be well funded to sensitized communities an out the environment.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, Mrs. Florence Wenegieme said the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction started in 1989 based on the United Nations General Assembly agreement of October 13th.
She explained that the day is meant to create more awareness on the need to reduce disaster risk in our country, communities, and homes. This year’s theme, ‘Disaster Risk Governance’ is meant to involve the government in disaster risk reduction.
Mrs. Wenegieme informed that as part of activities to mark the day, FEMA ambulances have been stationed in different parts of the FCT, adding that prayers have been held in mosques and churches to mark the day.
Other activities include the ember month ‘Operation Eagle Eye’, Evacuation drills, simulation exercises at the IDP camps, and dry season sensitization to reduce fire incidences in the FCT.