Disaster prevention: NEMA unveils new Geo-Spatial Centre

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By Philomina Attah

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has unveiled its newly built Geo-Spatial Centre which would help in processing data for information gathering, research and forecasting for disaster prevention.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, while inaugurating the laboratory in Abuja on Wednesday, highlighted the increasing global disasters affecting Nigeria and the world at large.

Assuring Nigerians of government’s continued support for enhancing public service and improving citizens’ welfare, the SGF urged NEMA and its partners to maximise the centre’s capabilities for better service delivery.

“The world is confronted by increasing global upsurge in magnitude, hence the need for the centre.

“There is also the complexity of various disasters that have affected many countries as evidenced in droughts, floods, desertification, famine, and even communal crises arising from competition over land use and ownership.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria is not isolated from the consequences of the global weather-related crises.

“The consequences of these are evidenced in various disasters that have affected many communities and resulted in loss of lives, injuries, destruction of livelihoods and forced displacement amongst others,” he said.

He said that the government is committed to effective disaster management and providing necessary support to affected people.

According to him, in addition to providing succour to disaster affected persons, other aspects of disaster management cycles are equally very essential.

He, however, commended NEMA for the success in establishing the centre, adding that it would support disaster forecasting, data mapping and information management systems.

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The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, in a remark, said that it was worthy to note that the Geo-spatial Centre was in a very dysfunctional condition when he assumed office.

He said that in realising the importance of the laboratory, the management brainstormed on an urgent approach to resuscitate the centre to international standard.

According to him, inaugurating the Geo-spatial Centre marks a significant milestone in disaster management in the country.

Ahmed, who highlighted the centre’s role in disaster preparedness and mitigation, commended President Bola Tinubu’s effort to better the lives of the citizens.

Sen. Mohammed Onawo, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, commended NEMA for establishing the Geo-Spatial Centre.

Onawo assured NEMA that the Senate would provide support to enhance disaster management in Nigeria.

On his part, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Rep. Joseph Bassey, also assured of necessary support for NEMA and disaster management.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NEMA’s Geo-Spatial Centre is established to collect, collate, store, analyse and display geo-referenced disaster data within the country.

It is to aid efficient decision making in planning, search and rescue, response, recovery, and rehabilitation as well as disseminate such for humanitarian interventions.

The Centre, formerly referred to as NEMA GIS Laboratory, was established in 2006 to enhance humanitarian operations following the paradigm shift from relief intervention to disaster risk management.

Some of the functions of the Unit include processing and using space satellite technology data for information gathering research and forecasting for disaster management.

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It is also expected to carry out field survey, mapping and evaluation of various disasters and its aftermath, and to carry out damage, risk vulnerability analysis and prediction for both the agency and public consumption, among others.

Notable achievements of the centre include facilitating the analysis of seasonal climate predictions and annual flood outlooks.

It has also developed early warning messages, produced risk maps to guide preparedness and mitigation actions, and built capacity for disaster data management.

The centre has also conducted critical infrastructure mapping, flood risk assessments and research into the causes of flood and soil erosion in various locations across Nigeria.

NAN also reports that the inauguration of the Geo-spatial Centre represents a significant step towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster management in Nigeria. (NAN)

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