EDDY OCHIGBO, Kaduna
Following increased vulnerability of the people to wide-ranging hazards in communities across Kaduna state, leading members of civil society organizations in the state, during the week underwent a two-day training on Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR), with emphasis on disaster management systems to augment and stimulate participatory tools of the targeted stakeholders.
The training, packaged by Christian Aid, touched on stages of disaster management, disaster risk reduction, risk, hazard, including early warning systems as well as the know how to strengthen governance systems on disaster risk reduction, especially in disaster-prone communities.
First to speak was Professor Edwin Iguisi of the Disaster Management Department of the Ahmadu University(ABU), Zaria. While dwelling on vulnerability and the difference between hazard and disaster, Professor Iguisi emphasized that disaster risk reduction, hinged on functional and early warning system, were key because ‘prevention is better than cure’.
“How do we ensure that we have functional early warning systems before disasters rear their ugly heads. And whatever we do around early warning system must be concrete and timely. Hazard becomes a disaster when a community is overwhelmed. We also have what we call complex or multiple disasters where a disaster leads to other disasters”, Professor Iguisi volunteered, pointing out that given the need for effective mitigation and prevention of disasters, it has become absolutely necessary for environmentalists, environmentally-inclined individuals and groups to collaborate and share understanding on the context and principles that determine disaster risk reduction.
On his part, Christian Aid’s Senior Programme Coordinator, Disaster Management, Mr Bamidele Fagbite reasoned that using government and institutional interventions to mitigate or prevent disasters were insufficient, hence the two-day training for stakeholders in charity sector.
“The emphasis now is to empower the communities to take ownership of what intervention entails. This will go a long way in reducing vulnerabilities and strengthen people’s capacities to cope with hazards from time to time”, Fagbite disclosed.
The Zonal Coordinator North West of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Isah Chonoko, while addressing participants at the engagement, maintained that effective disaster management must be holistic, apolitical and down-to-earth.
According to Chonoko, disaster management is everybody’s business, adding that the involvement of non-state actors in the DRR campaign was a welcome development.
On what he calls comprehensive school safety framework in disaster risk reduction (DRR), Program Officer Christian Aid, Mr Emmanuel Danjuma, said it “is a strategy designed to ensure safety in schools where most of our adolescents are concentrated”.
Convener of the Network of Civil Society in Environment, Gloria Bulus who played a significant role in mobilizing participants, expressed appreciation to Christian Aid for recognizing civil society in the campaign to reduce, mitigate and manage disaster in the country