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The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has identified poverty and status inequality as a major constraint in disaster management in the FCT, speaking at the closing ceremony of the week long annual International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDRR) Celebration, theme ‘fighting inequality for resistant future for all’’ the permanent secretary FCT, Mr Adeshola Olushade, ably represented by Mrs Olubumi Olowokere, Director FCT Cash Transfer Unit, stated that inequality in its various dimension in the society has been a problem, and attempting to bridge the gap, should be made for a meaningful achievement to be attained.

‘I say this with conviction because most of the crimes and moral despicable issues that society is facing today stem from the desperate attempt to close the gap of inequality between the haves and the have nots,’’ He stressed.

He further emphasised that poverty as acknowledged by the United Nations, and the desperate attempts to escape it by any means often results in unwholesome evironmental practices that increase our vulnerability to disaster risk. In his words: ‘breaking the circle of inequality requires organised and strategies actions on the part of government through empowerment program targeted at women, girl and youth with sense of inclusiveness so that those with special needs are not also left out’

‘there must be well cordinated effort by government and it’s partners if we are to reduce poverty and its potential consequences including vulnerability to disaster risk, we cannot afford to make it a self-effort because of the larger consequences to all of us’’ He concluded.

Also speaking, the Acting Director General (FEMA), Alhaji Sabo Mohammed, in his opening remarks, noted that due to the inequality in the society, it is often the most vulnerable and most marginalized communities that bear the heavy burden of disasters, adding that we must acknowledge and confront societal disparities to create a resilient future.
‘We must fight inequality in multiple form, for example people who live in poverty are more likely to live in areas that are at risk for hazards, they are also less likely to have access to early warning systems and other resources that can help them stay safe’ he said’.

Alh. Sabo also called on relevant authorities to operate an all-inclusive disaster Management structure that ensures that vulnerable population of the FCT have access to resources, knowledge, infrastructure needed to withstand and recover from disasters, while also calling on all government and non-government stakeholders to work together to fight inequality for a resilient future where everyone is safe from the impact of disasters.

Delivery his paper, the former DG (FEMA), Dr. Abbas Idriss,highlighed causes of disasters, factors that promotes it and how we can prevent disasters, Dr. Idriss explained that the IDDRR Celebration is a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) to raise awareness on the importance of disaster management at all levels of society structure, and promote actions to reduce the risks of disaster.

He also stressed that poverty is a hazard, ‘if one cannot afford the needful essentials this degenerate to risk’ , adding the that the poor communities are more vulnerable to disasters. He then appealed to all to identify hazards peculiar to their environment and figure out ways to prenvent them.

Also speaking, Director Forecasting, Response and Mitigation (FEMA), Lady Florence Dawon Wenegieme, stated that it is better to prevent disaster or mitigate its impact rather than giving relief assistance to affected persons.

‘FEMA’S approach in managing disaster has been strongly driven by risk reduction’’adding that FEMA will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in bridging the gaps of inequality and poverty in the FCT even as she appealed to residents in the FCT to take personal and collective responsibility in ensuring safety and avoiding risky behaviour that increases people’s vulnerability to disaster.

In his closing remarks, Mr Mark Nyarm appreciated the relevant stakeholders for their dogged commitnmeny and collaboration with FEMA for a safer FCT.

Ngaha Faustina (FEMA)

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