Sequel to the growing concern and vulnerability of people in communities across the length and breadth of Kaduna state, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), during the week, trained no fewer than 30 Field Officers on Hazard profiling and mapping to mitigate possible disasters in the state, particularly in the hinterland.
The two-day capacity building exercise – which among other things, dwelled on vulnerability, hazard and disaster – touched on functional and early warning system concept of Disaster Risk Reduction, Emergency Response, hazard profiling and mapping.
In an interview with Correspondents at the event, SEMA’s Executive Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Hassan revealed that Kaduna state in its renewed plan to tackle possible disasters is currently working round the clock to arrest emergencies ranging from fire, flooding and the like.
“SEMA is now at different levels of reviewing the contingency plan of the state, so that at end of the day, we would be able to create a document that would allow us understand the different hazards throughout the state and then build the contingency plans around all the early warning signals that this project would address. The Field Officers undergoing the training were meticulously chosen from the 23 Local Government Councils to liaise with the Local Government Emergency Management Committee – the Vice Chairmen of the Local Government Councils. The field officers would after the training be deployed to all 23 Local Government Councils to meet with the vice chairmen to discuss and understand the terms of reference and objectives of the whole exercise”, Hassan revealed.
The Executive Secretary stressed the need for the field officers to work hand in hand with the vice chairmen towards the success of the exercise. “It is important and critical that we get the field officers in to understand and also to relay to the Vice Chairmen that they would be supported by the field officers, who would be on ground in all the local council areas to interact with vice chairmen and the community to ensure that the programme is a resounding success because all logistics including transportation, feeding for the field officers would be provided by the state government”, Hassan disclosed, assuring that adequate preparations have being made to prevent disasters in the state.
The Executive Secretary blamed the frequent fire disasters in the state on what he calls “attitudinal behaviour of people who are totally ignorant about hazards and early warning signals”, pointing out that such gaps made the steps being taken to mitigate disasters absolutely necessary to prepare for the rainy day.
“We must get the people sensitized and informed about early warning signals. What we are doing is a bottom-top approach. We want to get to the communities and interact with them directly, let them get to understand what they need to do in case they are confronted by emergency situations. Even before the flood prediction of NIMET, we had been able to assess some of the communities prone to flood and came up with plans on how to bring such emergencies under control. The ultimate goal is to take SEMA to the door steps of the people and we are almost getting there, Hassan enthused.
On his part, Mr Abbas Danjuma, a participant and member of Coalitions of Associations, Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED), a Kaduna based civil society organization, told CUBINKS NEWS that,”the existing Contingency Plan of the state which is long overdue for a review did not identify some hazards which have become frequent in recent time, a setback affecting planning for resilience, mitigation and response. The new contingency plan is promising to both the people and the government at local, state and federal levels for proper strategy on disaster management and risk reduction in the state”.
The recently concluded training on hazard profiling by SEMA which is being supported by United States International Agency for Development’s (USAID) Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative (NERI), deployed trainees on the second day of the training, to three communities in the suburb of Kaduna metropolis, namely: Rafin Giza, Romi and Ungwan Matari to test run their newly acquired stills and tools in preparation for their primary assignment at the grassroots.