With the increasing global challenges of disasters, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the Federal Government and development partners are committed to efficient and effective disaster management in Nigeria.
Director General of NEMA Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi gave the assurance in a paper “Effective Humanitarian Assistance; The Case of NEMA), presented in New York at the 2014 Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations Organization.
He said “Since the inception of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in 1999, the Agency has been working towards putting in place various mechanisms, plans and tools to build its capacity to respond to any disaster that might affect Nigeria.
“The mechanisms include the National Disaster Management Framework, Incident Command System and plans ranging from the National Disaster Response Plan, Search and Rescue & Epidemic Evacuation Plan, National Contingency Plan to the Integrated National Avian and Pandemic Influenza Response Plan are constantly reviewed and improved upon by the Agency.
“NEMA has a Simulation Unit under the Department of Training which conducts simulation exercises of the Agency’s plans, procedures, systems and guidelines. In addition, the training department regularly organises capacity building for members of staff and relevant stakeholders to enhance their ability to meet the ever increasing emergency challenges in the country.
“This also include the capacity building trainings organised by NEMA in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the Camp Management and Camp Coordination working group and also the training organised by NEMA in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Human Rights Commission for the Protection Sector working group to improve their capacity to respond to the ongoing crisis situation in the country.
He further said that beside the acquisition and installation of the various state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructures for containment of disasters such as the NEMA Contact Center, mobile clinics, Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) ambulances, air ambulance, excavators and water tankers; the agency also pay upmost importance to warehouse stockpiling of relief supplies in its eleven (11) Zonal and Operation offices spread across Nigeria and in the Headquarters.
On the partnership with the development partners, Sani Sidi said NEMA has been accorded the authorised user of the International Charter, Space and Major Disasters in Nigeria and also the focal point of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN SPIDER) in the country.
“Recently, NEMA in partnership with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA) and other stakeholders developed a Joint Humanitarian Action Plan (JHAP) to address the growing phenomenon of urban disasters and humanitarian needs of a residual caseload of displaced populations resulting from the 2012 flooding plus needs emanating from the insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria, the sahel crisis and other disasters such as windstorm, erosion, ocean surge and other environmental factors.
He also said that the Private Sector led Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation set up in the aftermath of the 2012 floods to raise funds from the private sector has extended its support to the humanitarian intervention and recovery process in the north eastern under the State of Emergency.
The Director General of NEMA further said that the recent Safe Schools Initiative of the UN and the Nigerian Private Sector led by the former Prime Minister of Britain, Gordon Brown is working tirelessly to provide funds for the rehabilitation of schools and the creation of safe and secured environment to prevent the disruption of formal education in the North East of Nigeria.
“NEMA had the privilege of being the 2013/2014 president of the Regional Committee of Disaster Managers in West Africa (GECEAO). This position gave the Agency a rare opportunity to have a better insight into the disaster management mechanisms of countries in the region.
He noted that the functionality of the National Disaster Management Framework depends greatly on the existence and capability of State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) and other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Therefore, he urged the states that are yet to establish their own Emergency management Agencies should do so and support them to be fully operational while local government are encouraged to also encouraged to form their emergency management committees.