| By Vincent Nzemeke |
THE National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, wants the European Union, EU to assist it in the evacuation of people from flood prone areas in the country. Muhammad Sani-sidi, director general of NEMA, said on Wednesday in Abuja when he received a 10-man delegation from the EU on a 10-day visit to Nigeria, that the expertise of the EU was needed to convince vulnerable people to vacate disaster areas to safer grounds in the country in order to prevent humanitarian crises.
Sani-Sidi said a contingency plan for the prevention of a re-occurrence of the 2012 disaster which was bedevilled by the non-existence of functional state emergency management agencies in most states of the federation. He, however, assured that measures were being put in place by the agency through sensitisation and awareness creation in affected states on the need to prevent a reoccurrence.
Sani-Sidi also said that NEMA, in an effort to effect disaster risk reduction in affected areas, had high consultative meetings and advised governors of affected states on the need to prevent disasters. He said the contingency plan for the prevention of disaster was also being affected by the lack of functional fire services, absence of ambulance services and poorly-equipped hospitals across the country.
He added that NEMA, in an effort to overcome some of the challenges, embarked on the training of youths and executive volunteers to assist in emergencies. The executive volunteers, according to Sani-Sidi, comprised medical practitioners who were willing to offer free medical assistance during emergencies.
The Leader of the delegation, Kimmo Tuominen, said they were in Nigeria on a 10-day visit to share with Nigeria the experiences of EU member-counties that had witnessed flood situations in recent times. He said the visit was also intended to strengthen the existing relationship between Nigeria and the EU as well as to offer technical assistance on the management of floods in the country. Tuominen, also said the team would, in the course of the visit, set up an EU Humanitarian Office in Abuja for the coordination of all its activities in the country.
He expressed the organisation’s willingness to offer its expertise, support and advice as well as make recommendations on early warning, planning and management of disasters. He added that the visit of the delegation was also intended to share experiences from recent floods in EU member-countries, with an aim to look for a way forward.
— Aug. 26, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT