PRESS RELEASE October 22nd 2012
Mobilising Local Governments on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Planning
Against a background of devastating floods, which have turned large parts of Nigeria into disaster areas, Community Conservation and Development Initiatives CCDI, in partnership with Heinrich Boll Stiftung, organized a workshop entitled ‘Local Governments and Disaster Management’ on October 18th. The main objective was to prompt local governments over their obligation to form Local Emergency Management Committees LEMCs, as directed by NEMA, and to explain the roles and responsibilities of those committees. The workshop was held a few days after the UN International Day for Disaster Reduction, which was on 13th October.
The workshop comes under CCDIs ‘Mobilising Local Governments for Climate Action’ project and the three local governments involved in it, Eti-Osa, Lekki and Yaba sent members of their LEMCs to participate. Lagos State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA was represented by Engr. Olusegun Magnus-Davies Magnus and Mr. Ganiyu Wewe, the Fire Brigade was represented by Mr George Nwanorim and the Red Cross by Mrs Ijeoma Nweke. Dr Olusegun Ojo, an urban planning and disaster risk reduction consultant and former Director of Relief and Rehabilitation at NEMA was also a key resource person. Unfortunately, owing to bureaucratic intransigence, the Police were invited but did not attend.
A major role for each LEMC is to develop and update periodically risk maps for its local government and provide the information to LASEMA, the general public and the communities at risk. LEMCs should have the ability to kick start emergency response and recovery with back up from LASEMA. LEMCs must work closely with agencies such as the Fire Brigade, Red Cross and the Police, who should be represented on those committees. Local governments are afforded some degree of flexibility in the composition of the LEMCs, which should ideally reflect wards within the local government.
Other recommendations from the workshop included, greater emphasis on disaster risk reduction as well as management, as the level of disaster risks and vulnerability in any community is determined by the members’ capacity to anticipate, resist, cope with and recover from the impact of hazards. LEMCs require more assistance from LASEMA to develop plans of action which integrate disaster risk reduction into the local development planning process. Through the development of action plans, training and sensitization needs will be identified for the local governments and communities. Local governments must make budgetary allocations for the LEMCs and funds can also be drawn from revenue mobilization and the private sector.
Above all, for the successful operation of LEMCs, good governance and political will must be ensured. All participants thanked CCDI and HBS for providing technical support, in the form of the workshop, to support the inauguration of LEMCs.
Community Conservation and Development Initiatives
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