Returning IDPs to homes remains daunting, NEMA says

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The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has described as challenging effort to return the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to their homes following years of insurgency in the northeast.

As such, Director-General of the agency, Yunusa Maihaja, called for increased awareness and policies on Disaster Risk Reduction, DRR, to mitigate exposure to disasters and to prevent displacement.

Mr Maihaja made the call on Friday in Abuja in commemoration of the 2017 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, DRR, with the theme, “Home safe home: reducing exposure, reducing displacement”.

He said that this year’s celebration focuses on the importance of the home as a sanctuary and safe haven at all times, particularly in times of disasters, with special focus on preventing displacement.

According to him, the campaign for this year further seeks to raise global awareness in effective actions, policies and practices taken and needed to reduce disaster risk at community levels, thereby contributing to saving homes and livelihoods.

“We need to note that Disaster Risk Reduction has to be inclusive in all our activities even in our homes.

“Planning and preparedness activities need to include specific actions related to reducing the risks we are exposed to on a daily basis.

“In Nigeria, we are still faced with the repercussion of the massive displacement caused by the insurgency in the North-East.

“Returning people to, and retaining safe homes remains a daunting task which this government has given top most priority”, Mr Maihaja said.

The NEMA boss said the recent 2017 flood across 27 states with much havoc on Benue, Lagos, and Niger States shows that more needs to be done structurally and non-structurally to ensure that our homes are safe.

He said that communities need to adhere more to warnings, avoid developing settlement in flood prone areas, heed to advices, ensure adherence to approved building plans and invest in hazard proof structures.

Mr Maihaja disclosed that from June to September the Federal Government provided Fourth Thousand, nine hundred and five metric tonnes of assorted grains for immediate distribution by NEMA to displaced persons in the six States of the North East.

He said that the intervention was continuous until NEMA was sure that the people continue their lives in dignity and assured of safety.

Acting Secretary General of the Federation, SGF, Habibat Lawal,on her part, said this year’s theme was apt considering the current situation of flooding, conflict and displacement in the country.

Mrs Lawal, who was represented by Roy Ugo, Permanent Secretary, General Services office of the SGF, said that the devastating flood disasters, current insurgency in the North-East, recent spread of health epidemic has proved beyond doubt that Nigeria requires support.

She said that Nigeria needed the support to improve its capacities to Disaster Risk Management, preparedness and effective recovery.

The SGF said that as a nation, we have faced dire challenges due to prolong inaction to issues that could have been nipped in the board rather than allow such to deteriorate.

“These challenges are magnified due to inadequate capacities to identify and manage the disaster risk that exists.

“The challenges of disaster risk management, legislation, policies and adequate plans to govern and manage disaster risk remain issues requiring urgent attention especially in developing a world like ours,” Mrs Lawal said.

She said that this year’s celebration was a continuation of the Sendai campaign for DRR, which was endorsed by the United Nations Member States in March 2015.

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