An environmentalist, Prof. Nasiru Idris, has called on the three tiers of government to implement disaster risk reduction policy to enable societies to be resilient to natural hazards.
Idris, who is Dean, Faculty of Environmental Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, made the call on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 in an interview in Abuja, on the 2020 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Day is celebrated every Oct.13 to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction among the people and communities.
Idris said government must ensure that development efforts do not increase the vulnerability to the natural hazards.
He said that the Federal Government’s efforts at risk reduction was commendable, saying there was need to strengthen policies at the state and local government levels.
“I think government at the national level is doing well, but there is need to strengthen the issue of policies and strategies at state and local government levels where the target population are at high risk.
“Governments should facilitate the establishment of an enabling legislation and monitor the activities of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Local Emergency Management Authority (LEMA) for optimal results whenever disaster occurs.
“Government at all levels should note that good strategies for disaster risk reduction must be multi-sectoral, linking policies in areas such as land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture and environmental protection.
“Other areas include: energy, water resources, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation for sustainability,’’ Idris said.
He said that government needed to create a Disaster Management Information System, which would be a platform for disaster risk reduction and other information required to deal with emergency.
According to him, it is essential for communities to understand the importance of becoming more resilient to the effects of hazards.
“These are flooding and erosion, which normally leads to mortalities, loss of income, destruction of homes and farmlands as well as loss of livelihoods and infrastructures.
“People are aware because every year they normally analyse their efforts and also examine how to reduce the causal factors of disasters after its occurrence,” the expert said.
He said that risk could be reduced through preventive measures such as staying away from disaster risk areas liable to floods.
Idris underscored the need to develop or construct flood defence mechanism as measure for mitigation, such as planting of trees to stabilise the soil and slopes areas.
He said that installation of early warning systems and community harmony would reduce the risk associated with disasters at all times.
By Okeoghene Akubuike