UN to Support NEMA on Disaster Preparedness and Response

unThe United Nations will support Nigeria’s efforts in disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, to boost the country’s emergency management capability.

Visiting Under-Secretary General of the world body for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Baroness Valerie Amos made the pledge at a meeting she held with officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) led by the Agency’s Director General, Muhammad Sani-Sidi at the UN office complex in Abuja .

Baroness Amos promised that her office would send a team of technical experts to work with NEMA to identify the critical equipment and logistic needs in order to provide assistance in this regard.

The Under Secretary- General also said the world body would support Nigeria as the regional hub for disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, lauding the country’s past assistance to neighbouring countries, especially the Republic of Niger, in their times of need.

Earlier, the Director General of NEMA, Sani-Sidi had briefed the UN scribe about the Agency,s mandate and the challenges it faces in carrying out its functions, not least the problem of lack of cooperation and collaboration from some stakeholders. As a coordinating Agency for disaster management in Nigeria, the success of NEMA’s activities largely depends on stakeholder cooperation and collaboration, the DG emphasized.

He told the Under Secretary-General that the Agency faces a lot of other challenges that require the support of the UN. These are equipments and logistics, technical support and capacity building, additional relief and rehabilitation assistance to those affected by the 2010 floods and victims of the post- election crisis.

With the UN scribe at the top level meeting was Amadou Bailo Sow, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Africa 2 Section Coordination and Response Division and others.

Meanwhile in another development the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has met with stakeholders in Abuja to appraise the evacuation operations which were undertaken during the Arab Revolution in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya where more than 10,000 Nigerians were returned home.

At the meeting the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi disclosed that between the months of February and April 2011 stakeholders in emergency Management were involved in the evacuation of Nigerians from crisis-torn countries.

He said the essence of the gathering of the stakeholders is to appraise the entire evacuation operation, share experiences, draw lessons and explore ways where stakeholders could synergize effectively and professionally with a view to improving performance in future operations.

The DG who was represented by the Director of Training and Simulation, Mrs. Clementine Aisueni said in the process of reviewing the recent evacuation operation and charting the way forward and to begin the process of formulating a standard contingency plan or framework for all evacuation operations.

Also the Director of Search and Rescue of NEMA, Air Commodore Akexander Bankole said the collaboration of stakeholders, especially the military, the police, civil defence, foreign affairs and media accounted for the success of the operation.

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