Flood: UNICEF, NEMA, others agree on effective emergency preparedness

IN a bid to reduce dangers during emergencies, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other stakeholders have identified strategies for prompt and effective emergency preparedness response (EPR).

This was revealed in a three day workshop on emergency preparedness response, which was held at Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan, with stakeholders from Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Delta and the host state, Oyo in attendance.

While speaking on the challenges of stakeholders during emergency, UNICEF’s officer on emergency, Mr Olusoji Adeniyi, explained that “poor coordination, political obstacles, relief agency syndrome, fireman approach among others, have hindered smooth response during emergencies.”

Mr Adeniyi further explained that pre-emergency preparedness is very important as it helps to provide ample time to strategise on how best to respond during emergency.

The advocacy, media and external communication officer of UNICEF, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, stated that “people need information as well as food, medicine, water or shelter during emergency preparedness,” stressing that the “media need to set agenda to ensure that the most vulnerable; women and children are adequately protected.”

Furthermore, Deputy Director Disaster Risk Prevention, National Emergency Maintenance Agency, Mr Iyiola Akande, explained that the advent of technology has made it quite easier to respond effectively during emergency and disasters, adding that stakeholders can now plan ahead to ensure that they do everything possible to limit the risk.

Mr Akande stated that for people in high risk areas that are always reluctant to yield emergency forewarnings, “you can recall their memory to previous disasters and how badly family and friends were affected, stating that they could be victims if they don’t yield to the warnings.

“Another way is enforcing the town planning rules and regulations because there are certain setbacks that you keep off certain places… these are all spelt out in the planning laws and regulations but our problem is usually enforcement. If the people are unwilling to keep to the rules then, the town planning authorities at the local government level should be able to enforce these laws,” Akande said.

Some of the agencies present at the workshop include, SEMA, NOA, WASH, health, media among others.