The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has concluded arrangements to recruit 154,000 Grassroots Emergency Volunteer Corps across the 774 local government areas of the country.
Its Director General, Alhaji Sani Sidi, made the disclosure at a three-day workshop for the corps in Sokoto North local government area of Sokoto State.
Sidi who spoke through the state Zonal Operations Manager of the agency, Alhaji Sa’ad Bello, stated that the introduction of the corps would help in actualising the shift of emphasis to disaster risk reduction.
According to him, this would make the communities in the nation more resilient to disaster incidents.
“As you are aware, disasters usually occur at local areas and the local people are usually the first responders.
“So, the training of these volunteers corps will no doubt save lives and reduce the suffering of the victims of disasters in our communities whenever disasters occur,”he said.
In a remark, the Secretary to the Sokoto State Government, Alhaji Sahabi Isa Gada, said managing emergencies and disasters requires the support and active participation of all.
Gada, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs, Dahiru Abbas, disclosed that the state government would empower the State Emergency Management Agency and other related agencies to discharge their duties efficiently.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Ecological and Relief Matters, Alhaji Garba Kyadawa, said the workshop was aimed at building the capacity of the members of the corps with a view to mitigating disasters whenever they occur.
Meanwhile in another development, NEMA has recruited 3,000 volunteers to serve as first respondents in Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states during flood disaster.
It will recalled that many lives, crops, livestock and property were lost to flood in the affected states last year.
“We already know the flood-prone areas and have trained youths for quick response to minimise damage before NEMA’s arrival,” Alhaji Mohammed Abdulsalam, the Coordinator of the agency in the North-Central zone, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Jos.
Abdulsalam said that some youths had been trained on measures to save lives, especially of children and the aged in the event of such disasters in the area.
He said those group of people were the worst hit by disaster.
He said that the selected youths had been trained on emergency rescue operations and what the residents should do during flood disaster.
According to him, youths are expected to sensitise the communities to avoid flood, especially the building of houses and disposal of wastes on waterways and drainage.
He cautioned people against dumping wastes on roads and drainage on the erroneous assumption that they would be washed off by the rains, warning that water would always finds its way when its ways were blocked.
Abdulsalam said that people in the 11 communities of Delimi, where flood wrecked havoc, had been particularly trained to constantly be on the look-out for careless structures and indiscriminate waste disposal.
On Internally Displaced Persons from various violent clashes in the zone, the coordinator said that the agency was catering for more than 100,000 IDPs in 20 camps in the three states.
According to him, there are 52,000 IDPs in Benue, 28,000 in Plateau and 27,000 in Nasarawa.
He said that water was being steadily supplied to the camps to ward off epidemics, while mobile ambulances, fitted drugs were stationed at various points to meet the health needs of the IDPs.
On the alleged diversion of the relief materials meant for the IDPs, Abdulsalam said that the agency had always insisted on delivering the items directly to the victims to minimise such diversions.
He, however, advised members of the public to promptly report any suspected foul play to NEMA officials, and stressed the need for fairness by camp leaders saddled with supervising the sharing of the items meant for victims.