By Angela Atabo

Abuja, March 5, 2024(NAN) Christian Aid (UK), Nigeria, an organisation working for a just equitable and peaceful society for poverty eradication, has stressed the need for more investments in disaster preparedness and management across Nigeria.

Mr Temitope Fashola, Country Director of Christian Aid (UK), Nigeria, said this at a one-day National Conference and Dissemination event on Disaster Risk Reduction and Social Safety (DRaSS) project in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the conference is part of the DRaSS close-out project activities with the theme “Collaboration for Disaster Management in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects.’’

NAN also reports that the DRass intervention project is implemented by Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) and Christian Aid in collaboration with key stakeholders at local, state, and national level, and fully funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (EU ECHO).

DRaSS aims to save lives and protect the health and livelihoods of vulnerable people from the impact of climate-related disasters with focus on flooding in Nigeria.

It amis to strengthen social protection mechanisms and early warning and early action for vulnerable and disaster-affected groups, improving preparation and response to disasters by communities, government and other stakeholders.

Speaking on the need for proactive measures to mitigate disaster ,Fashola said that the project contributed to improving disaster preparedness, timeliness, quality of risk information, and response actions on flooding at ward, local, and state levels in Kaduna and Sokoto states.

He said the national conference served as an opportunity and a platform for stakeholders at the local, state and national levels to disseminate some of the lessons learned.

“This is very important to us in Christian Aid this because we know that one of the reasons why people move from being poor to being extremely poor is disaster.

“A case in point that we focused on in this project has been looking at the impacts of flooding in Nigeria and how we can better prepare and militate against it.

“We believe that a lot more investment needs to be made in human resource and capabilities as well as in preparedness to mitigate disaster as against waiting for when disaster happens.

“This is because by then a lot would have changed and happened in our communities.’’

Fashola explained that the challenge has always been around people understanding the process of disaster management and the importance of preparedness in mitigating disaster.

He said that there was need to understand that the necessary investment in disaster management needed to be made at the beginning, not at the end.

According to him, it is better to prevent disaster rather than responding to it adding that, “that way, a lot would be achieved, lives would be saved and it will ensure that people don’t get into extreme poverty. ‘’

Prof. Edwin Iguisi, the Pioneer Director ,Center for Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies at Abu Zaria, in his paper presentation titled` `Disaster Management in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects ‘’ said that disaster mitigation demanded a collaborative effort.

Iguisi said for disaster to be effectively mitigated ,a couple of things needed to be put in place like giving State Emergency Management Agencies(SEMA) conditional atmosphere to work as well as proper funding, human capacity development and enabling Law.

“Some of the SEMAs said that they do not even have enabling law to operate effectively.

“Leveraging on collaboration to achieve their goals is also key, because they cannot do all these things alone; nobody does disaster management alone.

“There is need to also throw away the unhealthy competition and inter-agency rivalry among stakeholders; this idea that my organisation or ministry is better than yours should be dropped, we need to work together because disaster management is a collaborative effort, ’he said.

Some of the SEMA representatives from the states commended Christian Aid and partners for initiating the project adding that it has helped in broadening their knowledge on disaster management and strengthened their capacity to mitigate it.

They said that the through the project, the various SEMA are on the right course to disaster management adding that the states were now effectively leveraging collaboration to achieve disaster management among others.(NAN)

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