BY PETER DURU, MAKURDI
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has commended the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Benue Non Governmental Organization Network, BENGONET and other relevant stakeholders for playing key roles in mitigating the effects of the last flood disaster that ravaged parts of the state, on the lives of the victims.
He noted that the efforts of the relevant agencies and organizations contributed to a large extent in lessening the burden of devastation on the lives of the victims and the state government.
The Governor who stated the his administration was taking necessary steps and putting measures in place to avert a reoccurrence of the disaster sued for cooperation from relevant agencies in that direction.
He identified climate change, insurgencies and rapid urban explosion as some of the major factors fueling environmental disasters in the country.
He advised that decisive steps should be taken to check and address these factors in order to save humanity the pains and anguish occasioned by such disasters.
The Governor spoke yesterday at a 4-Day workshop on the Development of Emergency, Preparedness, Response and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan organized by the Benue state Ministry of Information, in collaboration with Benue Non Governmental Organization Network, BENGONET, and United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
He noted that disasters were serious disruptions to the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, psycho-social, material, economic or environmental impacts which usually exceeded the ability of the affected communities to cope using their own resources.
He lauded the contribution of all stakeholders involved in service delivery in the management of disasters especially during the last flooding disaster in the state which destroyed property and rendered thousands of persons homeless in the state.
He stressed that the efforts of stakeholders during the disaster contributed in no small measure to mitigating the effect of the devastation on the lives of the victims.
He noted that disaster risk reduction involved every arm of the society, every arm of Government, and every part of the professional and private sector to achieve desired result.
Governor Ortom stated that the development of Emergency Preparedness and Response during the last flood in the state had helped in no small way to reduce risk as well as set up a management plan for the state.
Represented by the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Emmanuel Shior, the Governor opined that there was need to drastically reduce disaster risks in the society in order to sustain development activities.
He said, “as we are all aware, in the distant past, incidences of conflicts, flood and other forms of disasters were few and far between.
“However, it has become so real and so recurrent, no thanks to climate change, insurgencies, urban sprawl and the pressure it has brought to bear on available public utilities.
“Today, disaster risk reduction includes disciplines like Disaster Management, Disaster mitigation and Disaster preparedness but it is also part of sustainable development.
“In order for development activities to be sustainable, they must also reduce disaster risk which is paramount in our today’s world.” Governor Ortom stated.
He maintained that the workshop was aimed at identifying weaknesses associated with institutional response to disasters, before, during and after its occurrence in order to leverage on the lessons learnt in order to serve as guide for future occurrence.
“This will therefore awaken stakeholders’ operational preparedness and response in matching early warning with early action.” He added.
Earlier, the BENGONET chairperson, Mrs. Rachel Ityodzunguul while welcoming all participants to the workshop urged them to contribute meaningfully to achieve set objectives.
She noted that the workshop was coming at the right time given the set in of the harmattan season and its attendant hazards adding that workshop would also come out with resolutions and recommendations that would help the government and people of the state effectively tackle any outbreak of disaster in the state.
Mrs. Ityodzunguul urged the participants to come out with a well thought out workable plan that would stand the test of time in the management of emergency situations in the state thereby saving the state the kind of trauma and pains witness during the last flood disaster in the state.
The four day workshop drew participants from the academia, the police and other paramilitary agencies, Journalists, Non Governmental Organizations, civil servants, disaster management experts and other stakeholders.
act accordingly.” Mr. Gbande added.
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