By Philip Yatai
The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun a weeklong sensitisation of residents on disaster risk reduction across the six area councils of the Federal Capital Terrirory (FCT).
Mrs Florence Wenegieme, the Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, FEMA, launched the sensitisation on Wednesday at the Palace of the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Yunusa.
Wenegieme explained that the exercise was part of activities to commemorate the 2023 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) with the theme “Fighting Inequalities for a Resilient Future for All.”
She said that the IDDRR is annually commemorated on Oct. 13 to sensitise residents as the first respondents to disaster situations on how to reduce risk in communities.
She said that the goal is for the people to know how to prevent, reduce or mitigate disasters.
She added that “if you are aware of an imminent disaster, you will be prepared to prevent it, and if you can’t prevent it, you reduce the impact or mitigate the outcome.
“This is part of a strategy to reduce loss of lives and properties to disasters to the barest minimum.”
She identified some of the disasters as flooding, fire outbreaks, building collapse and other forms of disasters.
The director added that some of the disasters are human-induced and as such, preventable.
She stressed the need for residents to pay attention to the advice of FEMA and other disaster management experts on ways to prevent human-induced disasters.
She said that the theme of the 2023 IDDRR focuses on inclusion to ensure that no one is left behind – women, youths, children, persons with disabilities, the aged, the blind and every other human being.
“That is why our sensitisation is a bottom up approach from the community level, to ensure that community members are aware of disasters and how to support and help one another when it occurs.
“That is also why our participants include traditional leaders from the ward level, women, the youths, town criers, volunteers, local divers, disaster marshals, religious and traditional leaders.”
The director said that other activities within the week would include a seminar with relevant stakeholders, a road show, media engagement and a news conference.
Responding, the Ona of Abaji thanked FEMA, the Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike and the management of FCT Administration for the support to the traditional council and local communities.
Yunus, however, appealed to FEMA to establish offices at the area councils to bring emergency services closer to the people and increase response time.
He assured FEMA of the traditional council’s support in sensitising the people on disaster risk reduction.
Earlier at the Abaji Council Secretariat, the Council Chairman, Mr Abubakar Abdullahi, pledged to set up a Local Emergency Management Committee to respond to emergencies at community level.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the Council Secretary, Mr Abdulrahman Ndagi, promised to work with FEMA to keep residents informed about disasters and how to prevent, reduce or mitigate them. (NAN)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu