Lagos marks International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has joined the International community to mark the 2015 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction as part of the global practice to promote global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

The event which was held at the Command and Control Centre Alausa, Ikeja was declared opened by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations Dr. Ibironke Shodehinde.

Addressing stakeholders, Dr. Shodehinde said the State government through LASEMA was being proactive by putting all the necessary structure in preventing as well as mitigating impact of any emergency/disaster which is most times felt at the grassroots by inaugurating Local Emergency Management Committees, in addition to training of 570 responders in all 57 Local Government Area and Local Council Development Areas for quick and adequate response to victims of emergencies/disasters in the State.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the general manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Michael Akindele, explained that the International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly.

According to him “the UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Originally celebrated on the second Wednesday of October (resolution 44/236, 22 December 1989), the General Assembly decided to designate October 13th as the date to celebrate the IDDR (resolution 64/200, 21 December 2009).

He noted that the theme of this year “Knowledge for life” is quite fascinating because it would help raise awareness on how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.

Akindele stressed that the traditional, indigenous and local knowledge which complement modern science add to individuals and societies resilience in tackling disaster, adding that the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of the Environment had advised people leaving in flood prone areas to vacate and move to safer places during heavy down pours to avoid loss of life and properties, following the prediction by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) of heavy down pour during this period.

Apart from NIMET warning, the Nigeria Hydrological Agency has also warned of impending release of dam such as Lagdo Dam from the neighbouring country of the Republic of Cameroon.

He explained further that emergencies and disasters do not serve any notice of exact time of occurrence, “it is our duty as agencies of government and relevant stakeholders to get our people prepared at all times. We must never be caught napping”, he said.

While admonishing his Agency’s efforts in tackling disasters through various programmes embarked upon by his agency, he emphasised that event such as the celebration, would help stakeholders to brainstorm on how to bring disaster risk reduction to the barest minimum since the impact of any emergency is to the community where it occurred.

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