Thursday, October 25, 2012

Flood disaster and national emergency management in Nigeria

Elvis Ndubueze in This Day (Nigeria):  As the issue of Climate Change and its effect on Nigeria becomes clearer,  the mitigation of natural hazard, its prevention and the response to it will test the effectiveness of Nigeria’s national emergency management. To reduce further human suffering currently being experienced across the country, occasioned by the sweeping flood, a prominent role is expected by the nation’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). It therefore pre-supposes that NEMA should have taken the centre stage in all of the flood disasters that happened while others queue behind them contributing to the efforts both financially and physically. This is what we see in other climes. It demonstrates readiness and effectiveness of an agency while it provide a showcase of a country always prepared ahead of any calamity that may befall it as a result of human activities that has now brought about climate change.

Disaster reduction in Nigeria is both possible and feasible if the available sciences and technologies related to natural hazards are properly applied. The extent to which society puts this knowledge to effective use depends firstly upon the political will of its leaders at all levels. Coping with hazards - whether natural or attributable to human activity - is one of the greatest challenges of the applications of science and technology in the 21st Century.

While governments cannot prevent an earthquake or a hurricane from occurring, or a volcano from erupting, or sea from rising, governments in other parts of the world are applying the scientific knowledge and technical know-how that are already available to increase the resistance of these natural hazards or disaster, or to issue early warnings and organize proper community response to such warnings.

Over the last three decades, scientific knowledge of the intensity and distribution in time and space of natural hazards and the technological means of confronting them have expanded greatly. The dramatic advances in understanding the causes and parameters of natural phenomena and in the techniques for resisting their forces were presented, in the mid-80s, by Dr Frank Press, a lead scientist, as the rationale which made propitious the launching of the international decade devoted to reduce significantly the consequences of natural hazards and responding to disaster....

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