Disaster management: Reform emergency agencies, says NGO

To reduce disasters, government should reform emergency agencies, Executive Director of Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGEE), Dr Mojisola Akinsanya has said.

The reform,  she noted, would enable humanitarian actors to carry out research and disaster risk reduction.

She spoke  with reporters on the sidelines in Lagos of a four-day training.

The workshop is to equip stakeholders with tools to ensure proper emergency management with emphasis on a gender-responsive approach.

It was organised in partnership with WOPEGEE and Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDCP) with Austrian Centre for Peace (ACP) within the framework of Humanitarian Assistance in West Africa (HAWA) Multiplier Module (MM).

The project was funded by Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and Federal Ministry of Austrian Defence.

Dr Akinsanya said while a non-humanitarian actor would classify a disaster natural or man-made, a humanitarian actor doesn’t believe disasters are natural, that is why “government should reform emergency agencies so humanitarian actors can carry out research and disaster risk reduction so that it will be reduced to a minimal level”.

Dr Akinsanya said the body wants to build capacity of local NGOs to push for progress in disaster risk reduction.

A delegate from ACP, Ms Sophia Stanger, said the organisation builds capacities to support people in the African region.

“ACP is engaged in Capacity Building for Humanitarian Assistance in West Africa (CABHA), and we try to build capacities to support West African region, and help people from government, civil society and military to be equipped for humanitarian needs.”

Earlier, Helen Bodunde,  identified the causes of floods as inadequate drainage, blocked and improper drainage management and excessive rainfall.

She urged everyone to tak care of the environment to minimise disaster risk.

Programme Manager of Women Peace and Security for UN Women, Peter Mancha, noted that structures in places to ensure proper emergency response and crisis management were needed because in the South, flood is one of the major natural disasters that occur every year.

“The challenge we have is we get all the signals that these will happen, but what measures do we have in place to prevent these or mitigate the impact? This workshop is looking at how we can support different stakeholders, communities, civil societies and emergency response agencies, but more from a gender perspective, because we all know that women are the majority that bear the brunt of these crises,” he said.

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