NEMA says comprehensive risk analysis, a vital tool for disaster preparedness

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says preparedness is a vital component of disaster management which needs to be given adequate attention to ensure timely, effective and efficient response.

The Director General of NEMA, Mrs. Zubaida Umar, said this while declaring open a three-day Workshop on the Update of Hazard Risks Analysis for Nigeria holding in Enugu.

Umar, who was represented by NEMA’s Director, Planning, Research and Forecasting, Dr Onimode Bandele, stressed the necessity of proactive measures in mitigating various hazards and risks.

She emphasised the collaborative efforts between NEMA and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in addressing the challenges of disaster management in Nigeria, which had continued to yield positive results.

Umar noted the ongoing hazard risk analysis, data gathering, and mapping initiative would be instrumental in enhancing knowledge of Nigeria’s risk terrain and guiding risk-informed programming.

“The workshop convened key stakeholders to deliberate on identifying, reviewing, and updating impending risks faced by Nigeria,” she said.

The director general expressed gratitude for UNICEF’s support and underscored the pivotal role of various stakeholders and State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) in developing strategies to enhance resilience and mitigate risks.

Reflecting on past initiatives, Umar recalled the comprehensive hazard disaster risk analysis conducted in 2021, covering various risks across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones.

She emphasized the importance of periodic reviews to align with evolving hazards.

“The hazard risk analysis serves to provide a comprehensive risk profile at the local government level, enabling stakeholders to prioritise interventions based on severity and impact,” she noted.

Umar pointed out that the workshop was an opportunity for stakeholders to strategise and enhance understanding of hazards, vulnerabilities, and exposure factors.

She called upon stakeholders to deliberate on effective preparedness strategies to address impending risks, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts in mitigating the suffering of Nigeria’s populace.

“I urge participants to engage actively and contribute constructively throughout the workshop to ensure effective outcomes,” she said.

Speaking, UNICEF Emergency Specialist, Mr Olayinka Afolabi, said that the risk analysis initiative was aimed at bolstering disaster preparedness and response in Nigeria.

“This is with a focus on enhancing understanding and fortifying resilience, while the initiative holds significant promise for the nation’s disaster management efforts,” Afolabi said.

He emphasized the multifaceted objectives of the initiative, highlighting its role in empowering government agencies and their partners to implement tailored, risk-informed programming at the grassroots level.

He said: “Additionally, the initiative seeks to lay the groundwork for early warning systems and community-based preparedness initiatives, fostering public awareness and readiness to respond to disasters.

“The methodology behind the analysis involves close collaboration between NEMA and UNICEF, with data meticulously collected from government data owners, processed, and analyzed to identify high-risk areas.

“Stakeholder engagement plays a crucial role, with validation workshops providing a platform for experts from various sectors from states and national levels to contribute their insights and ensure a comprehensive understanding of vulnerabilities and exposure factors across the country.”

Afolabi expresses optimism about the initiative’s potential to strengthen Nigeria’s resilience against disasters; adding that “this is through informed decision-making processes and developing strategies to mitigate risks.”

“With its focus on collaboration, data-driven analysis, and stakeholder engagement; the risk analysis initiative represents a significant step forward in Nigeria’s efforts to enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities,” UNICEF Emergency Specialist said.

The three days workshop, which started on Tuesday, April 23, would end on Thursday, April 25.

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