NEMA activates emergency operations centres in 12 states
• repositions national response on emergency management
Ongoing efforts aimed at repositioning the national response on emergency management gained traction, as National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) activated the Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) in 12 states of the Federation.
The NEMA Director-General, AVM Muhammadu Muhammadu who disclosed this in Abuja during the unveiling of the new NEMA’s Roadmap, expressed delight over ongoing efforts aimed at promoting mechanisms for disaster risk transfer and insurance, risk-sharing and retention especially in flood and fire disasters.
AVM Muhammadu who resumed office during the COVID-19 pandemic has successfully reactivated the Agency’s communication equipment, while efforts are in top gear to bring home the Agency’s Air Ambulance.
He also assured Nigerians of the Agency’s readiness to resume distribution of relief materials to people affected by flood and fire disasters who could not be reached sequel to the attack and looting of warehouses where the palliatives were stored.
According to him, some of the plethora of challenges facing the Agency, including: “poorly motivated staff, mutual suspicion among staff, poor working environment, lack of serviceable equipment among others. To compound these problems there was the poor perception of the image of NEMA by the public, poor relationship with our supervising Ministry and the National Assembly Committees.
In confronting these challenges, he observed that the management Team spent many hours, sometimes into the nights to develop strategies to improve service delivery.
While noting that the Agency’s efforts in the last few months have helped to improve the desired relationship with the supervising Ministry and National Assembly as partners in the conduct of its affairs, the NEMA helmsman also expressed delight that the ongoing collaboration with Intra and Inter departments as well as the resolution of lingering contract liabilities since 2017.
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Some of the targets set in the Agency’s roadmap include an awareness campaign to target 100% of Nigerians on reducing the risk of flooding and another disaster, development of resilience among communities through the implementation of the Sendai Framework of Action; Responding to all catastrophic disasters in the country; shortening the response time to emergencies; ensuring the availability and workability of all rescue equipment; implementation of humanitarian-development nexus’ supporting provision of basic needs for IDPs in catastrophic disasters and supporting the coordination of safe and dignified return of IDPs in collaboration with other stakeholders.
Others are strengthening institutions for disaster management at the lower level of governance; strengthening collaboration and coordination with all humanitarian actors; mainstreaming and integrating disaster risk reduction within and across all sectors; reviewing and updating disaster preparedness and contingency policies, plans and programmes; investing, developing, maintaining and strengthening people-centred multi-hazard, multi-sectoral forecasting and early warning systems as well as supporting the six centres for disaster risk management in Nigerian which were established by NEMA.
AVM Muhammadu also reiterated his resolve towards the coordination of the zonal, territorial and operational offices, State Governments and its relevant MDAs, as well as other stakeholders including the Military, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Red Cross and Community Based Organisations, among others.
“The advocacy also includes special media appearances and visits to locations identified to be at risk of flooding, where the messages of flood prevention and mitigation were communicated directly to the people.
“A flood committee was constituted with focus on the predicted flood for preparedness, mitigation and response. The committee comprised of representatives from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as well as the Military to further strengthen preparation against the predicted flood, the committee visited all States and met with the State Governments, Disaster Response Units (DRUs) and held meetings with the local stakeholders.
“The Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and I visited many states on advocacy ahead of the predicted flood.
“We escalated our advocacy to National Economic Council through the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in a special presentation of the predicted flood at the National Economic Council.
“During the flooding, the Minister and I visited the affected states to convey the sympathy of the Federal Government and present relief items to assist the affected persons. NEMA also activated Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) in 12 States faced with the challenges of the flood to properly coordinate and deploy relevant support for the affected persons.
“The activation of the EOCs meant that NEMA was fully on the ground with the stakeholders in working with SEMAs and State Governments to strengthen local efforts for a comprehensive response to the flood including setting-up temporary shelters (IDPs camps) and distribution of relief materials.
“Assessment teams were deployed to all the affected states, unfortunately, the period that coincided with the EndSARS protests which hindered the smooth operations of our staff in some places.
“The procurement of the relief materials has been made in many states. The delivery and distribution were concluded in some states while others were delayed because many of our warehouses were attacked and looted during the EndSARS protests.
“Now that normalcy has been restored, relief delivery has resumed in all the states that are yet to benefit.
“Improvement of health services through a partnership with efficient health service providers. This is bearing in mind the challenges of the health insurance scheme.
“Provision of an affordable housing scheme for staff across the country, we are appealing to all State Governors and FCT to allocate lands that we could develop in partnership with developers,” he noted.