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February 27, 2024

Disaster management: NGO urges govt to reform emergency agencies

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By Henry Oladele and Oluwatope Lawanson

Women For Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGEE), a Non-Governmental Orgnisation (NGO), on Tuesday appealed to the federal and state governments to reform emergency agencies across the country.

The Executive Director of WOPEGEE, Dr Mojisola Akinsanya, made the plea while speaking with journalists at a four-day workshop in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training with theme, “Capacity Building for Disaster Preparedness, Response and Flood Risk Management,” holds from Jan. 16 to 19.

Akinsanya said the government needed to reform the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, among others for better research.

“When you want to classify disaster, you say it is natural or man-made but as a humanitarian actor, we don’t believe that disasters are natural.

“Government still believe at building implementation around relief agencies despite structures like NEMA, LASEMA and the likes.

“The government should reform all emergency agencies so that they can carry out a lot of research and disaster risk reduction so that it will be reduced to a minimum level,” she said.

Speaking on the workshop, she said it was in support of the Austrian Centre for Peace to support local NGOs to push for progress in disaster risk reduction.

“What we intend to achieve is how communities can show resilience, how we can strengthen the capacity of different humanitarian actors to show resilience in terms of disaster, especially flood disaster in southern Nigeria.

“Humanitarian assistance is a wide range. Some work in education, health, climate change, water and sanitation, among others.

“We want to strengthen the capacity of different actors that are here.

“We have participants from civilian, military; NEMA and what we intend to achieve is have a community action plan that can work towards this 2024 flood.

“We also want to see how communities can build sustainable infrastructures before disaster struck and a coalition where researchers working with us make sure the action plan is being implemented,” she said.

Miss Sophia Stanger, a delegate from Austrian Centre for Peace, while speaking with journalists said the organisation aimed at building capacities to support people in the African region.

“This support is to be better equipped for meeting humanitarian needs and we are focusing basically in flooding and disaster reduction,” she said.

One of the research presentations which was made by Prof. Helen Bodunde, on Ogun State Environment and Climate Change, identified causes of flood.

Bodunde identified inadequate drainage, blocked and improper drainage management and excessive rainfall, as major contributors to flood disaster.

She urged everyone to play a role at taking care of the environment to minimise disaster risk in the country. (NAN).

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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