Stakeholders drawn from various fields converged on Benue State to deliberate service delivery in the management and reduction of disasters such as the recent flooding which rendered many people homeless in the state.
Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Emmanuel Shior, in his address harped on the need to reduce disaster risk in order to sustain development activities at the 4-Day workshop on the Development of Emergency, Preparedness, Response and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan.
“As we are all aware, in the distant past, incidences of conflicts, flood and other forms of disasters were few and far between. But today, 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,” he said.
Shior also told stakeholders at the workshop organised by the state Ministry of Information, in collaboration with Benue Non Governmental Organization Network (BENGONET) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) that disasters were serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, psycho-social, material, economic or environmental impacts which exceed the ability of the affected community to cope using its own resources.
He maintained that disaster risk reduction involved every arm of society, every arm of government and every part of the professional and private sector, hence, 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.
Earlier, the BENGONET Chairperson, Mrs. Rachel Ityodzunguul, urged participants to be attentive and contribute meaningfully so that they can come out with a workable plan that will stand the test of time in the management of emergency situations in the state.