UNICEF urges SEMAs to focus more on preparation than distributing relief materials after disaster
By Segun Ayobami
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged disaster management agencies in Nigerian States to focus more in making adequate and effective preparedness long before crisis rather than concentrating on distribution of relief materials to disaster victims.
Addressing newsmen during a workshop on Emergency Preparedness Planning and Update of State Contingency organized by UNICEF for States Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and other stakeholders in emergency management in both the North-west and North-central states, UNICEF Emergency Focal Person for Nigeria, Soji Adeniyi, observed that these agencies at states level are lagging in this respect.
“Emergency Management is not relief, a lot of them grow up with the relief mentality, they want to carry relief materials to those that are affected with disasters. That is just one element of their job and should not be more than 25 percent, the remaining 75 percent is preparing people for those challenges letting them understand that the crisis will be caused if they did not prepare.
“They cannot be solved by relief, so 24/7 they should spend time in disaster risk Preparedness activities that will make sure that even when they are not ready to respond other responders will come to the table.
”That is exactly what we are doing here today, we’ve brought together all stakeholders like SEMAs, ministries of planning, health, education, nutrition and others including the media so that they will understand that disaster management is everybody’s business and not only states emergency management agencies alone.”
He further revealed that malnutrition is one of the killers of children, expressing displeasure over government neglect on it and some other issues where children and women are concerned.
He also noted that politicians are not giving the needed attention because their names will not be written on it, saying they rather give attention to physical projects does not have direct impact on the common man.
He however urged governments at all levels shift their attention and resources to projects that have direct and immediate impact on the children so that they can live, adding “if they are malnourished there may not be children to take over from the current crops of leaders.
“So when planning towards disaster, emergency agencies should put the children and women into consideration as report has it that over 70 percent of disaster victims are children and women.”
Posted from GoBroadsheet